Articles & Media


Changes Are A-Comin’

20-Jan-17

By Hugh McPhail, Q.C.

Rumours continue to percolate that the Government of Alberta is looking at introducing changes to the Labour Relations Code as early as this spring. It is of course not yet known what those changes will entail, if anything, but wish lists have already been sent to the government by several trade union organizations. The Premier’s interest in labour law is obvious since she practiced labour law in Alberta for a time and her husband works for the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The trade union movement is well represented in caucus and has actively supported the government. If there are changes, will they be narrow or expansive? Will the government see itself beholden to certain trade unions? Will it permit certain trade unions to dictate what legislative changes will be made? What sort of consultations will there be with employers and the public before the die is cast, if any?

Of course, answers to these questions are not yet known, but trade unions are asking for changes in many areas including, for example, card-based certifications and other certification changes, common employer declarations/double-breasting, successorships, changes to construction registration, imposed collective agreements and contract arbitration, overriding property rights, bans on replacement workers in strikes/lockouts, unfair labour practices, automatic certification, and more aggressive remedies. If implemented, these changes could fundamentally and negatively alter labour relations for employers and employees in Alberta.

It is probably a good time to review structures and operations. Are there bargaining relationships you can revoke or change? Are there changes you should make to strengthen your legal position? Are there any steps which should be taken that might not be available in a few months?

McLennan Ross LLP has both more cumulative experience and a greater number of active practitioners than any other firm in the province in the labour/employment area on behalf of employers. We can help. Feel free to consult anyone in our Labour and Employment Practice Group in either Edmonton or Calgary.
 

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