Home|Audio Conferences|1st Annual Labour Board Update

1st Annual Labour Board Update: A cross-Canada review of key cases and trends

Tuesday, January 24, 2017, 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm EST

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Sheilagh Murphy

Labour Relations Board, Newfoundland and Labrador


Drew Plaxton

Union Counsel
Plaxton Jensen
Christopher McHardy

Employer Counsel
McCarthy Tétrault
Johanne Drolet

Union Counsel
Melançon Marceau Grenier et Sciortino
Keith Burkhardt

Employer Counsel
Sherrard Kuzz


Discussion of arbitration decisions tends to dominate many continuing education events for labour relations professionals, but knowledge of recent labour board decisions is essential for anyone who needs to be up-to-date on labour law in Canada. In this session experienced counsel will review recent important decisions, identify emerging trends in labour board law, and explain the practical implications of these trends and decisions for unions, employers, and their counsel. Topics to be addressed include:

  • "Freedom of expression" issues: Where have recent labour board decisions drawn the line between permissible and impermissible employer communication with employees during bargaining? In what circumstances, if any, is "bargaining through the media" an unfair labour practice? What limits have labour boards placed on employer speech in the context of union certification drives?
  • Labour boards and vulnerable employees: What are the challenges labour boards face when confronted with applications involving bargaining units composed mainly of temporary foreign workers? Are labour boards able to deal adequately with concerns regarding employer intimidation and workers' lack of awareness regarding their rights? What guidance have labour boards provided to unions attempting to meet their duty to fairly represent members who likely have impairments related to mental health, but who refuse to acknowledge any mental health issues?
  • Bad faith bargaining: What guidance have recent labour board decisions provided regarding what conduct (or lack of conduct) will constitute a failure to bargain in good faith, or to make every reasonable effort to reach a renewal collective agreement? Where are labour boards drawing the line between "hard bargaining" and bargaining in bad faith? Are labour boards making orders that are adequate to remedy bad faith bargaining? Should the remedial power of labour boards in such cases be expanded or curtailed?
  • Statutory freezes: How do labour boards determine what constitutes "business as usual" in a new economy in which the workplace is "fissurized" through supply chains and franchising, and in which employment is characterized by instability and fluctuating terms and conditions? Can employers deviate from business as usual when decisions traditionally associated with management rights are exercised, such as staffing, or unanticipated economic changes occur?
  • Developments in reconsiderations and judicial review: What factors have reviewing courts considered in determining the adequacy of a labour board's reasons in recent decisions? Are there circumstances in which it is inappropriate for a labour board to issue reasons because doing so would serve no good labour relations purpose or may actually harm the state of labour relations between the parties? What guidance have recent decisions provided as to whether a reasonable apprehension of bias exists? Should reviewing courts act as a "tiebreaker" when labour boards have issued inconsistent decisions on an issue?
  • Comparing jurisdictions: In which areas have labour boards across Canada exhibited marked differences in policy and legal decision-making?

Additional Information

Valuable, up-to-date materials and case summaries will be available for downloading from our website. Each audio conference is accompanied by a PDF of concise summaries of the cases discussed.

Audio conference MP3 files are available for $245. Those who have purchased the live audio conference may purchase the corresponding downloadable audio MP3 file for the discounted price of $145.

The recorded MP3 file and materials are available for download one business day after the live audio conference. After purchasing, you will receive an e-mail with instructions on how to access and download the audio conference MP3 file and materials by visiting My Account and selecting Order History. For audio file purchases for upcoming audio conferences, once the MP3 file is available through our site, registrants will receive an update e-mail informing them that the links are now ready.

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