are equally free to be members of employers organizations.
of the Codes provisions are designed to protect these fundamental freedoms. Indeed,
the Code prohibits any conduct that is likely to interfere with the exercise of an
individual's rights under the Code. Anyone who engages in conduct prohibited by the
Code commits an unfair labour practice.
a group of employees wants to be represented by a union, the Code provides the means for
that union to be legally recognized as the exclusive bargaining agent for those
employees. This recognition is called certification and carries with it
certain rights and obligations. The union acquires the right to bargain with the
employer on behalf of the employees it represents (the bargaining unit) and, on their
behalf, to enter into a collective agreement setting out the terms and conditions of their
employment. In return for that right, the union has the duty to represent all of the
employees in the bargaining unit in a manner which is not arbitrary, discriminatory or in
bad faith, whether or not those employees are members of the union.
where a union has not sought certification under the Code, an employer may agree to
acknowledge the union as bargaining agent for the employees and to conclude a collective
agreement with the union. This is called voluntary recognition. In such cases
the union will normally have the same rights and be subject to the same obligations under
the Code as a certified union. The Board, however, must be satisfied that the
voluntary recognition has been approved by the employees affected.
Code governs most aspects of the relationship between unions and employers. It contains
provisions designed to promote collective bargaining and sets out certain basic standards
for every collective agreement. If the union and the employer are unable to reach an
agreement, the Code permits strikes, lockouts and picketing (within certain legal
constraints) to pursue bargaining demands. However, the Code prohibits strikes and
lockouts during the term of a collective agreement. All disputes arising during the
term of a collective agreement must be resolved without a work stoppage by arbitration or
some other method agreed to by the parties. The Code provides various types of
assistance to the parties to resolve both mid-contract and collective bargaining disputes.
is provision for the Minister of Labour and Citizens' Services to appoint a
committee of special advisors to review the Code. Such committee would review the
operation of the Code and make recommendations to the Minister on the need for changing
every worker in British Columbia is covered by the Labour Relations Code.
Only those persons who meet the Code's definition of an employee are entitled to exercise
collective bargaining rights. Under the Code, the following persons are not
considered to be employees:
who performs the functions of a manager or superintendent; or,
employed in a confidential capacity in matters relating to labour relations or
collective bargaining rights of some groups are addressed under other legislation (e.g., Public
Service Labour Relations Act and Public Education Labour Relations Act).
These acts also provide exclusions from collective bargaining based on the principle of
avoiding situations where union membership would create a conflict with job
contractors and supervisors are not excluded from the application of the Code. A dependent
contractor is someone who performs work or services under contract to another person under
such terms and conditions that he or she is in a position of economic dependence on that
person. A dependent contractor's position more closely resembles that of an employee
than that of an independent contractor.
any question arises concerning whether or not a person has employee status under the Code,
the Labour Relations Board makes the final decision. The Board makes these decisions
on a case-by-case basis and looks at a variety of different factors concerning what the
person actually does in relation to the employer's business operations.
are some employees in British Columbia who are not covered by the Labour Relations Code
because they come within federal jurisdiction. Canada's constitution distributes
most of the power affecting labour relations to the provincial governments. For that
reason, most employers in British Columbia, and their employees, come within the scope of
the Code. The federal government, however, retains labour relations jurisdiction
over employees who work in certain industry sectors. Some examples of employees who
come under federal jurisdiction are:
of the federal public service and federal Crown corporations;
engaged in works or undertakings that connect a province with another province or country
(e.g. airlines, railroads, shipping, and longshoring);
of chartered banks;
in radio and television broadcasting; and,
Employees in the grain industry
Canada Labour Code governs collective bargaining rights for these employees.