Labour board punishes employer for heavy-handed efforts to block union

By Lorna Harris
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/29/2002

Since coming to power in 1995, the Ontario government has made significant changes in the way industrial relations are conducted in the province. The effects on the process of union certification, decertification and first-contract bargaining brought about by the wide-ranging Labour Relations Amendment Act 2000 (which came into force on Dec. 30, 2000) are slowly being felt in unionized workplaces.

So too are the effects of earlier legislation governing the way the game of certification is played in Ontario.

In June 1998, then Labour Minister Jim Flaherty introduced Bill 31 to amend the Ontario Labour Relations Act 1995. Under this legislation, proven coercion or intimidation of workers by an employer during a certification drive would no longer result in the automatic certification of the union. At the time, union leaders predicted that with this change, “employers would have nothing to worry about when they break the law.” However, as the following Ontario Labour Relations Board ruling shows, flouting the law with respect to union certification has very dramatic consequences for the guilty party.