Certification - Is There a Better Way to Test Employee Wishes?

Document Type

Conference Material

Publication Date



Labour Boards, Certification, Trade Union, Bargaining Agent, Unionization, Testing, Wishes, Majority


With all the new jurisdictions, powers and responsibilities of labour boards across Canada, the simple certification of a trade union as bargaining agent where there has been bitter employer resistance is probably still the mostly deeply resented decision that a board makes. Where the union loses it will blame the board for failing to take account of employer anti-unionism. Where it wins the employer will assume that the true wishes of a majority of the employees have not been properly ascertained. Undoubtedly in certifying the board is only giving effect to the central thrust of the legislation it administers but no expression of legislative policy favouring unionization will dissuade some employers from resisting in all possible ways the certification order that they perceive as changing their whole way of business. Employer resistance to unionization may spring from sophisticated corporate economic policy, hard-nosed individualism or a naïve and perhaps paternalistic inability to accept that most employees are not happy to carry on forever with unilateral employer decision making. It must be recognized, too, that union organizing is not always what it should be and on occasion employer suspicion of a union's evidence of membership or supper as a basis for certification is well founded. Is there a way of testing employee wishes that is fairer, or at least more acceptable than those not in general use?


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