The proposed legislation would establish card-based union certification for the temporary help agency industry, the building services sector and home care and community services industry. It would also take measures to eliminate certain conditions for remedial union certification, allowing unions to more easily get certified when an employer engages in misconduct that contravenes the Labour Relations Act (LRA). This would make access to first contract arbitration easier, also adding an intensive mediation component to the process.
The proposed changes would require the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to address first contract mediation-arbitration applications before dealing with displacement and decertification applications. It would also allow unions access to employee lists and certain contact information, provided the union can demonstrate that it has already achieved the support of 20 per cent of employees involved. The legislation would also empower the OLRB to conduct votes outside the workplace, including electronically and by telephone and authorize the OLRB to give directions relating to the voting process and voting arrangements in order to help assure the neutrality of the voting process.
The spirit of the Labour Relations Act is not to assist with increasing the rate of unionization, but rather to provide an impartial process for union certification. This legislation is changing that. The government is taking an active position to encourage unionization. These changes will do more to help the unions themselves than the workers they represent.