British Columbia Labour Relations Changes
With the Bill 30 receiving Royal Assent, there will be some labour friendly changes coming soon to unionized workplaces, and those that are facing certification in B.C.
Some of the key changes that Employers can expect include:
Remedial Certifications- The proposed changes will eliminate the need for unions to prove that requisite support would have occurred if the unfair labour practice did not occur. This could result in an increase on certifications being granted.
Furthermore, the board will be able to grant a remedial certification of an employer has violated section 5,6,7 or 9 of the code; the employees who were affected are seeking union representation; and the board deems remedial certification to be just and equitable.
Employer Speech- There will be greater restrictions on what will be allowable as employer free speech and could return the restrictions to a level of permissible speech similar to what was in place prior to 2002.
Statutory Freeze Period- The extension of the freeze period to which an employer may not change terms of employment, including pay, would be extended from 4 months to 12 months.
If there is a mediation in progress that exceeds the 12 month window, changes will not be permitted until the mediation is concluded.
Picketing- The definition could be changed to be in alignment with the Supreme Court of Canada current law.
Representation Votes- The window of opportunity for an employer to communicate with employees regarding the vote will be reduced from 10 days to 5 days, unless held by mail.
Adjustment Plans- Bill 30 will allow for the use of a mediator to assist with development a plan. If after mediation, recommendations may follow. There is still no requirement to agree to the terms of a plan, but the bill will expand the process and may result in delays and higher costs where changes to the workplace are sought.
Successor Rights- The inclusion of contractors and re-tendered contracts for service will greatly impact the ability of employers to re-tender contracts in the following areas:
Building Cleaning Services
Food and Security Services
Bus Transportation Services
Non- Clinical Health Care
Other Services as per section 159 (2)
Revoking of Bargaining Rights- extending the time period to make an application for revocation from 10 months to 12 months following specific events that are specified in section 33.
Industry Advisory Councils- The Minister's authority to establish councils will be removed and the Minister will now direct the Board to assist in establishing a council.
This represents a significant change to the Code, and as such, employers should consider and prepare for how this will impact their businesses.