Certification Amendments - Revised Information Bulletin #8
Amendments to the Labour Relations Code concerning certification come into force on September 1, 2017. Information Bulletin #8 will be revised effective that date, setting out the Board’s amended procedures for dealing with certification applications.
Amended Information Bulletin #8 (effective September 1, 2017) can be found here. The amended procedures apply to applications received on or after September 1, 2017.
The mandatory Application for Certification Form will also be revised effective September 1, 2017. You can view what the amended Form will look like here. A Word copy of the amended Form will be available on September 1, 2017 for use by applicants.
Significant changes to the certification procedure include:
- The employer is required to provide the Board Officer with all information requested no later than 5 working days after the date of the application (section 34(4)).
- Timelines for Officer’s Reports, receipt of objections and administrative reviews of files have been formalized as a result of the Code’s new statutory timelines (section 34(6)).
- A hearing will automatically be scheduled for 13 working days after the date of application for the hearing of any objections. Hearings will usually be completed in the single scheduled date. Parties and legal counsel must make themselves available on the scheduled date. Due to statutory timelines for completion of applications, adjournments will not normally be granted.
- Parties must exchange any documents to be used at the hearing at least 48 hours before the hearing.
- If there is evidence of more than 65% membership support from the employees in the unit, the Board may authorize certification without a vote (section 34(8)).
The Board will review Information Bulletin #8 and these procedures in the future to determine whether adjustments to these procedures are necessary based upon the Board’s experience and feedback from the community.
Amendments to Labour Legislation
A number of Bills amending Alberta’s labour legislation were passed this Spring, which impact the Board’s powers and procedures.
The changes can be found in:
The Act to Enhance Post-secondary Academic Bargaining, SA 2017, c 4;
- The Fair and Family-friendly Workplaces Act, SA 2017, c 9;
The Public Interest Disclosure (Whistleblower Protection) Amendment Act, 2017, SA 2017, c 11.
As amendments to the Labour Relations Code come into effect, the most up-to-date amended Code can be found on the Queen’s Printer website at www.qp.alberta.ca (please note the site may not be immediately updated).
For changes which are immediately in force, the Board will shortly be publishing a series of transitional Information Bulletins outlining the Board’s procedures for new types of applications and the Board’s expectations of parties. Until those transitional Bulletins are published, parties seeking to file new types of applications should follow the Board’s Information Bulletin #2 generally, and the Director of Settlement will advise the parties of any further requirements.
The Board’s current Information Bulletins, Policy and Procedure Manual, Rules of Procedure and Voting Rules will be updated to reflect changes to the legislation and the Board’s new procedures. Until that updating process is completed, please note the legislation governs in the event of any inconsistency. In particular, the Board gives notice that, subject to the discretion of any Board panel hearing a matter, the Board will not be applying Voting Rule 17(b) for applications received on or after June 7, 2017, to mirror the repeal of Code sections 34.1 and 53.1.
For unions considering an application pursuant to section 153(6), seeking approval by the Board of an “internal or external appeal or review process for representation matters”, please be advised the Board will be publishing its requirements and criteria for approving such a process. Until those criteria have been published, the Board will not be accepting any applications under s. 153(6).
Other changes to the Code will come into force on September 1, 2017:
- amending the certification process and timelines, and
- providing for the review of arbitration decisions.
The implementation of card-check certification, strict statutory timelines for certification applications, and the new arbitration review power will require substantial revision of the Board’s processes. It is anticipated that transitional Bulletins and Rules providing detail on the Board’s proposed procedures on these topics will be published by the Board in advance of September 1, 2017 for comment by stakeholders.
Further amendments to the Code bringing farm and ranch employers and employees under the Code are not in force until January 1, 2018.
The Board thanks the community for its understanding as these changes are implemented. Watch this space for Bulletins and other changes as they are published.