The purpose of this Information Bulletin is to provide
general information and guidance about termination of
bargaining rights. It is not a legal document and is subject
to the provisions of the Labour Relations Code, the
Labour Relations Regulation, the Labour Relations Board
Rules and the published decisions of the Board.
Bargaining rights for a certified unit can be terminated under
Section 33 of the Labour Relations Code on application by:
the employees in the bargaining unit,
the trade union certified to represent the bargaining unit, or
the employer named in the certification.
Decertification of the Bargaining Unit
Applications for Decertification
Employees in a certified bargaining unit may apply for
decertification under Section 33(2) of the Code. Such applications
may not be made:
during the first 10 months following certification,
during the 10 months following refusal of a prior decertification
application because of unfair labour practices, or
a period of 90 days or longer following refusal of a prior
decertification application, where ordered by the Board.
A decertification application must be accompanied by signed
individual signature forms from at least 45% of the employees in the
unit. The application and each individual signature form must show
the correct name of the union and the local number if applicable.
The date of signing must be shown on the application and on each
individual signature form. As in the case of certification, the
number and names of employee signatories are confidential to the
Single Employee Units
The fact that there is only one employee in the bargaining
unit at the time of the decertification application is not a
barrier to decertification.
Employees may also apply for decertification of part of a bargaining
unit. Under Section 142 of the Code, the Board may exercise its
discretion to allow an application for partial decertification of a
bargaining unit. The Board's policy on partial decertification is
set out in Certain Employees of White Spot Limited, BCLRB No.
B16/2001. More information on what is required is set out in Form
142. You may also contact the Board's Information Officer at (604)
660 - 1304.
In addition, the Board has determined that, under the unique
circumstances created by the Health Authorities Act, it may
exercise its discretion to allow a decertification application by
employees of a single employer covered by that Act to proceed under
Section 142 of the Code.
A vote will be conducted by an Industrial Relations Officer
within 10 days of receiving a valid decertification
application. The 10 day limit will not apply if the Board
determines that the vote is to be conducted by mail.
An employer cannot initiate or assist employees with a
decertification application. If an application has been
filed alleging improper interference by a person, or if any
of the employees in the unit are affected by an order under
Section 14 of the Code (i.e. unfair labour practices), the
Board may order the ballot box sealed pending resolution of
those issues. If the Board determines there has been
improper interference such that the true wishes will not be
disclosed, or the employees are affected by an order under
Section 14, the Board may direct the ballots not be counted
and dismiss the decertification application.
If the ballots are counted and a majority of employees
voting oppose continued representation by the union, the
Board will cancel or vary the certification. The
certification will continue in the event of a tie vote or if
only a minority oppose continued representation by the
union. If less than 55% of those employees eligible to vote
cast ballots, the Board may direct that another
representation vote be held.
Results of Cancellation
If the certification is cancelled or varied, the union's bargaining
rights and any collective agreement are also cancelled. No other
trade union may apply for certification of employees within that
unit for a period of 10 months, unless a shorter period is allowed
by the Board.
Section 34 of the Code provides for the revocation of
bargaining rights where there is a collective agreement
resulting from voluntary recognition. The process followed
will be the same as in the case of an application under
Section 33, with the additional requirement that if the
collective agreement is not on file with the Board, the
applicant will be required to provide a copy.
Decertification on the
Grounds of Abandonment
union or an employer may apply for decertification under Section
33(11); however, the Board does not automatically grant such an
application. The applicant will be required to show that the union
has abandoned the bargaining unit in question.
In evaluating an abandonment application the Board will consider
such factors as the length of inactivity on the part of the union,
its attempts to renew the collective agreement, its activities
related to administering or enforcing the collective agreement, and
any extenuating circumstances which the Board considers relevant.
Board has ruled that Section 33(11) does not allow an employer to
decertify a union simply because it does not have any employees at
the time of application.
Under Section 33(1) or Section 142 the Board may cancel a
certification if it is satisfied that the trade union has ceased to
be a trade union, or that the employer has ceased to be the employer
of the employees in the bargaining unit.
An employer may apply under Section 33(1) to cancel the
certification if it has gone out of business and there is no
reasonable likelihood it will re-open in the foreseeable future.
The Board has ruled that where there are no other employees, an
individual employer who is a member of the union cannot apply for
decertification, relying on status as a union member, since the
individual is not an employee under the Code.
Michael Anderson Decorating Ltd.,
BCLRB No. B283/93 (denial of an application because of unfair
& E Screen Print Ltd.,
B75/94 (denial of an application because of unfair labour
Royal Canadian Legion, Kelowna (Pacific No. 26) Branch,
BCLRB No. B76/94 (abandonment)
Wayne Watson Construction Ltd.,
BCLRB No. B306/94 (abandonment in the construction industry)
Glass of Canada Limited, carrying on business as Vanfax,
BCLRB No. B304/94 (leave for reconsideration denied BCLRB No.
B498/94) (an application by an employer for decertification under
Section 33(1) of the Code)
BCLRB No. B205/99 (an application by an employer for
decertification under Section 33(1) of the Code)
Certain Employees of White Spot Limited ,
BCLRB No. B16/2001, 65 CLRBR (2d) 161 (partial decertification)
Baptist Housing Society of B.C. (Central Care Home) ,
BCLRB No. B442/98 (decertification of a single employer in a
multi-employer certification in the health care sector.)
Jack Electrical Services Ltd .,
BCLRB No. B211/95 (union member employer/shareholder with no
current employees attempting to decertify)
Board decisions since January 1, 2000 are
available without charge on the Internet at
Board decisions can also be
Canada Law Book Inc. 240 Edward St. Aurora, Ontario L4G 3S9 Telephone (toll free) 1-800-263-2037
LRB Staff provide general information and
assistance to the public, but they cannot act as your representative or advisor.For answers to specific concerns related to your
situation, you should consult a lawyer or an advisor experienced in labour relations.For general clarification, call the Board's
Information Officer at 660-1300.