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Glossary
arbitration

A method of settling a labour-management dispute by having an impartial third party conduct a hearing and render a decision that is binding on both the union and the employer.

bargaining agent

A union certified by the Labour Relations Board as agent to bargain collectively for employees in a bargaining unit; also a person or employers’ organization accredited by the Labour Relations Board and authorized by an employer to bargain on its behalf.

bargaining unit

An employee group recognized by the Labour Relations Board as the appropriate unit for collective bargaining.

business representative

This term sounds like it refers to a management person, but it describes an official who conducts union business on a paid, full-time basis.

canada labour code

The statute regulating labour relations and collective bargaining for employees under federal jurisdiction.

certification

Official recognition by the Labour Relations Board that a union is the exclusive bargaining representative for employees in a particular bargaining unit.

check-off

A clause in the collective bargaining agreement or in legislation that authorizes management to automatically deduct union dues or fees from union-represented employees.

closed shop

The Closed Shop is based on a contract provision requiring that all bargaining unit employees be union members in good standing before they were hired and, often, that they be hired through the union.

collective agreement

An agreement in writing between a union and an employer setting out the terms and conditions of employment, including rates of pay and hours of work.

contract

A legally-enforced agreement negotiated between a union and employer that spells out the wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment. Contracts are binding on both parties for a fixed duration (typically three years) and then expire and must be re-negotiated.

contracting out

When a employer hires outside personnel to perform work normally done by company employees, the work is said to be contracted-out or “out-sourced.“

cost-of-living allowance

Periodic pay adjustments to compensate workers for changes in the cost of living. COLA is usually geared to changes in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

council of unions

An association of unions that bargain together on behalf of a number of bargaining units which have been amalgamated into one larger bargaining unit.

decertification

Cancellation of a union’s certification by the Labour Relations Board.

duty of fair representation

The duty of a union or employers’ organization to fairly represent its members.

grievance

A disagreement over the interpretation or application of a provision in a collective agreement; an allegation by one party that the other has violated the terms of the agreement.

labour relations board

The agency established under the Labour Relations Code to administer and enforce the various provisions of the Code.

labour relations code

The basic statute regulating labour relations and collective bargaining.

labour relations commission

The agency established under the Labour Relations Code to administer and enforce the various provisions of the Code.

lockout

A restriction by an employer of work that would normally be available for the employees to perform and which is intended to compel those employees, or to aid another employer to compel employees, to agree to terms and conditions of employment.

lockout notice

An announcement, in writing, given to the union and to the Labour Relations Board by the employer, that it is the employer’s intention to lock out employees.

mediation

A method of settling collective bargaining disputes in which the parties to the dispute use a third person - called a mediator - as an intermediary.

order

A ruling made by the Labour Relations Board to correct a contravention of the Labour Relations Code.

picketing

A means by which employees attempt to increase pressure on their employer to settle an outstanding difference; also, an attempt to persuade persons not to do work for, or do business with, the employer.

raid

An attempt by one union to gain the right to represent employees in a bargaining unit already represented by another union by persuading members of the other union to become its members.

rand formula

A form of union security whereby an employer deducts a portion of the salaries of all employees within a bargaining unit, union members or not, to go to the union as union dues (“checkoff”). It was named for a decision handed down 29 Jan 1946 by Mr. Justice Ivan RAND of the Supreme Court of Canada while he was arbitrating the WINDSOR STRIKE (12 Sept-20 Dec 1945). The original formula was based on the assumption that the union is essential for all workers and must be responsible for them. Two interrelated provisions following from this assumption guaranteed the union the financial means to carry out its programs, and established the financial penalties for employees and unions engaging in work stoppages or illegal strikes. For employees, these sanctions could consist of daily fines and loss of seniority; for the union, the suspension of union dues. Collective agreements have spread a modified Rand Formula throughout Canada, and some provinces have given it legal force. (In the U.S this is known as an Agency Shop.)

replacement worker

A person hired or transferred to work at a workplace where a legal strike or lockout is in effect to perform the work of the striking or locked-out employees.

representation vote

A vote ordered by the Labour Relations Board to determine whether employees in a bargaining unit want to have a particular union represent them as their bargaining agent.

strike

A temporary stoppage of work or a concerted action by a group of employees acting with a common purpose to force the employer to conclude a collective agreement.

strike notice

An announcement that the employees will go out on strike, which is in writing and given by the union to the employer and to the Labour Relations Board.

successor union

A union that succeeds another by means of a merger, amalgamation or transfer of jurisdiction.

successorship

The preservation of bargaining rights of employees of a business through the automatic transfer of the obligations under an existing certification and collective agreement from the vendor of the business to the purchaser.

unfair labour practice

Any conduct that interferes with the rights guaranteed by the Code - e.g. interference with the right to participate in the lawful activities of a union.

union

An association of employees formed for the purpose of furthering their interests with respect to terms and conditions of employment through collective bargaining.

union security clause

A clause in a collective agreement making union membership compulsory for all or some of the employees in a bargaining unit.

voluntary recognition

Acknowledgement by an employer of the status of a union as bargaining agent for employees of the employer (generally by signing a collective agreement with the union) without formal certification of the union.

wildcat strike

A strike not sanctioned by the union and which violates the collective agreement and/or the Labour Relations Code.

work stoppage

A cessation of normal business operations due to a strike or lockout.

work-to-rule

A tactic used by workers to pressure management by scrupulously adhering to the letter of all company rules, safety regulations, contractual provisions, laws and other relevant procedures.

Advancing Employee Rights
Federal or Province
Caution

In most cases you will select the province where you work.

However, select "Federal and Territories", if any of the following apply:

  • You live in Northwest Territories, Nunavut or Yukon.
  • You work as a federal civil servant anywhere in Canada.
  • You work in one of the following industries:
    • airports or air transportation
    • broadcasting - radio, television or cable television
    • telecommunications
    • banking
    • fisheries (but only if your business relates to the protection and preservation of fisheries as a natural resource)
    • shipping and navigation (including loading and unloading vessels)
    • grain handling
    • uranium mining and processing
    • certain federal crown agencies
  • You work in one of the following industries AND (a) your activities connect one province to another OR (b) extend beyond the limit of one province:
    • air transport
    • canals
    • ferries, tunnels and bridges
    • highway transport of good or passengers
    • railway transport of goods or passengers