Proposed Amendments to the B.C. Labour Relations Code, First Reading

May 2019

In late-2018, the Panel appointed by the Provincial Government issued a Report recommending amendments to the Labour Relations Code.

On April 30, 2019 the Minister of Labour, Honourable Harry Bains, tabled Bill 30-2019, Labour Relations Code Amendment Act, 2019 for first reading.  The Bill contains most of the recommendations in the Panel’s Report, including:

  • Narrowing the definition of picketing, by expressly permitting lawful consumer leafleting, s. 1.
  • Requiring that the Code is reviewed at least every five years, s. 3.
  • Narrowing the right to communicate, ss. 6(1) and 8.
  • Making remedial certifications more accessible, s. 14.
  • Restricting the years/times when unions can raid and allowing a successful raiding union to apply to cancel a collective agreement (limited to collective agreements of five years or more, and where the raid occurs at least two years prior to their expiry), ss. 19 and 27.1.
  • Reducing the time limit for a certification vote to five business days from the application (down from 10 days), and “business days” now excludes Saturday, Sunday or another holiday, ss. 1 and 24.
  • Reducing the time limit for a decertification vote to five business days from the application (down from 10 days), and “business days” now excludes Saturday, Sunday or another holiday. Increasing the period before decertification can occur from 10 months to 12 months after certification or a failed decertification, s. 33.
  • Extending successorship protection to re-tendering (contract flipping) of service contracts in specific areas: building cleaning/janitorial services; security services; bus transportation services; food services; non-clinical services in the health care sector; and other service contracts as added by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, s. 35.
  • Increasing the freeze period on employers from four to 12 months for newly certified unions, s. 45.
  • Where a collective agreement or ancillary agreement is not filed with the Board, the Board may decline to consider the collective agreement in a proceeding before it, s. 51.
  • Easier access to the appointment of a joint conciliation facilitator, s. 53.
  • Access to a mediator for adjustment plans, s. 54.
  • Easier access to mediators for first collective agreements, s. 55.
  • Removing educational programs from essential services, s. 72.
  • Easier process for the creation of industry councils, s. 80.
  • Increased access to settlement officers for grievances, s. 87.
  • Mandatory case management conferences for arbitrations, s. 88.1.
  • Clarifying the court’s jurisdiction for appeals of arbitration awards, s. 100.
  • Overhauling the expedited arbitration process, s. 104.
  • Requiring the Board to make available to the public information regarding the rights and obligations under the Code and the power to direct employers to display that information in the workplace, s. 123.1.
  • Increasing the Board’s powers to require an employer to provide a list of employees in the proposed bargaining unit, s. 140.
  • Increasing the maximum fine to an individual to $5,000 (was $1,000) and to a corporation, trade union or employers’ organization to $50,000 (was $10,000), s. 158.

These amendments are not effective until Royal Assent, except section 35 which will be retroactive to April 30, 2019.