Policy revised 2023/06/14
This Policy applies to all members of the public participating in an in-person vote at the Labour Relations Board’s (the Board’s) premises or at an off-site location. It only applies to votes directed by the Board or the Minister.
This Policy forms part of the Board’s Communicable Disease Prevention Plan. It is in the public interest that the Board ensures in-person votes are held in a way that protects members of the public and Board staff. The Policy is subject to change in response to Public Health Orders, other applicable legislation or regulation, or the Board’s experience in administering it.
Electronic Voting is the Default
Online electronic voting will continue to be the Board’s default way to conduct votes as an alternative to in-person votes. Online electronic votes are the best available means of eliminating the risk of transmitting disease while conducting the vote in a timely manner.
On its own motion, or at the written request of a party, the Board may hold an in-person vote where it can be done safely and in accordance with this Policy and the Illness policy for members of the public.
Where an online vote is not possible, and an in-person vote is not feasible as set out in this Policy, or at the direction of the Board, a mail ballot vote may be considered.
Requesting an in-person vote
On its own motion, or at the request of a party, the Board may consider conducting an in-person vote where it can be done safely and in accordance with this Policy.
Where the Board requests, the party seeking an in-person vote must also provide particulars as to why an in-person vote should be conducted notwithstanding the increased risks of transmitting disease when meeting in-person. The request must identify what measures can be put in place, in as much detail as is available at the time of the request, to lower the risks of transmission.
Assessing a request for an in-person vote
The request for an in-person vote must be made either at the time an application is made to the Board or, as soon as possible, to the Registrar or the Officer with conduct of the matter.
The Registrar or the panel assigned to the application may, at any time, determine that an in-person vote cannot be done safely and in accordance with the Labour Relations Code.
On receiving a request for an in-person hearing, the Board Officer will contact the employer who, in addition to the information required to provide to the Officer under the Code, must also be ready to provide additional, detailed information to assess the request for an in-person vote, including:
- whether all employees are working at the worksite (i.e., whether some employees are working from home)
- specific details of the Board Officer’s proposed walking route to enter the worksite to conduct the vote with a view to minimizing the distance travelled within the worksite to arrive at the voting location
- the route must allow the Board Officer to maintain a safe social distance of at least two metres from others
- details of the vote location, including a roughly measured floor plan and routes to the location, that show the social distancing of at least two metres can be maintained between individuals attending to conduct or participate in the vote, including within the voting area and any area for lining up to vote
- photographs and/or videos of the vote location and any routes leading to the vote location
- a copy of the existing safety protocols in place at the worksite or vote location, including but not limited to:
- illness policies for individuals in that location
- maximum occupancy limits for the rooms proposed for the vote, if applicable
- availability of first aid attendants, if any
- location and availability of sanitizing gel stations, disinfecting wipes, washrooms, and building cleaning schedules
- existence of signage, including directional flow and social distancing
- any other information requested by the Officer or any other Board staff
- the means by which this Policy and the Board’s Illness Policy for members of the public will be circulated to those who may be attending the vote
Where an in-person vote will be conducted and if the Board requests, the parties must, prior to the vote, provide the Board Officer with:
- a list of the names and contact information for any person attending, either as a scrutineer or as a person providing vote support (i.e., someone that assisted in the set up for the voting location), who is not already listed on the tentative voters’ list established for the vote
- an acknowledgement that all of the parties to the application who are attending the vote, and all participants attending on their behalf, have read, understood, and will comply with this Policy and the Board’s Illness Policy for members of the public
- an acknowledgement that, as a result of changing or unforeseen circumstances, the in-person vote may be cancelled or postponed at any time. This includes a requirement to disclose to the Board immediately if a person is being tested, or has tested positive for COVID-19 and/or there are any self-isolation orders for the worksite
- an acknowledgement that a breach of this Policy or the Board’s Illness Policy for members of the public will result in the immediate suspension of the vote, with the issues giving rise to the suspension of the vote to be addressed before a Vice-Chair of the Board
If, on attending the worksite, the Officer determines that the location was not accurately described on the plan or that it is unsafe to conduct the vote as ordered having regard to the physical premises and the number of voters, the Officer will first explore alternatives with the employer and the union.
If there is a delay in the start of the vote, the Officer may adjust the end time of the vote to ensure that the same amount of time to vote is maintained.
If there is no alternative location that is safe, as determined by the Officer, they will contact the Vice-Chair who ordered the in-person vote to explain any concerns, so that further orders regarding the vote can be made, if necessary, after hearing from the parties.
Conduct of the Vote
Prior to commencing the vote, the Officer may establish maximum occupancy limits for the number of persons allowed in the voting room based on size and configuration and set the appropriate layout in their discretion.
Voters and scrutineers must comply with all directions of the Officer and all signage posted by the Officer.
If an employee or scrutineer presents at the vote appearing to be sick, the Officer may stop the vote and instruct the voter or scrutineer to leave.
Where the Board requests, each participant at the vote must:
- confirm that they have read, understand, and state that they are not prohibited from attending at the vote under the Board’s Illness Policy for members of the public
- prior to voting wash/sanitize their hands using appropriate cleaning practices
- maintain a minimum two metre distance between all people at all times
- wait at a spot indicated by the Officer for their turn to vote. If no spots are available, they must remove themselves from the area to a location where they can maintain social distance until a spot is available
- comply with all Board and building signage, including a maximum occupancy for elevators
- comply with any other requirements the Board may identify
After the Vote
If any person attending the in-person vote develops symptoms of a communicable disease within 14 days of the vote, or has been asked to self-isolate by a health professional, the employer or other party, as the case may be, must immediately advise the Board and cooperate with the Board and any public health officials.