Legislative Amendments To Modernize Labour Law In Newfoundland And Labrador

Author:Stewart McKelvey's Labour & Employment Practice Group
Profession:Stewart McKelvey

On June 19, 2012, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador introduced substantial legislative amendments to the Labour Relations Act (Bill No. 37) and Public Service Collective Bargaining Act (Bill No. 38) as part of the Government's attempt to realize the following goals:

Maintenance of a positive labour relations climate in Newfoundland and Labrador; Maximizing job creation in the province; and Maximizing economic benefits and employment relations stability. The amendments result from recommendations made in three significant reviews relating to the labour relations framework in Newfoundland and Labrador. The minister responsible for the Labour Relations Agency expressed that the changes "reflect a balanced approach and are the result of a considerable amount of input from both labour organizations and employers".

The reviews considered include:

Final Report of the Voisey's Bay Industrial Inquiry Commission; James Oakley Report on the Special Project Order (SPO) provisions of the Labour Relations Act; and Review of the Labour Relations Act conducted by the Employment Relations Committee of the Strategic Partnership Council. The provincial government hopes that the changes help to ensure that legislation in Newfoundland and Labrador reflects current practice in other jurisdictions. Highlights of the intended amendments include:

Instituting a card-based certification system requiring automatic certification in instances where 65 per cent of the employees in the bargaining unit sign a union membership card. If 40 per cent to 64 per cent of the employees sign cards, a certification vote would be required; The Labour Relations Act and the Public Service Collective Bargaining Act (PSCBA) would be amended to allow either party (the employer in the case of the PSCBA) to request during collective bargaining that a vote of the employees of the bargaining unit be conducted to accept or reject either party's (the employer in the case of the PSCBA) most recent offer. As this would be a new requirement for the Labour Relations Board, proclamation will occur once the board advises that appropriate processes and procedures are established; The Labour Relations Act would be amended to: Recognize the right of an employer to...

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