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Bargaining Unit, Certification, Ballot, Nova Scotia, Evidence, Union Membership, Majority


The notion that the wishes of employees with respect to certification should be ascertained primarily through a secret ballot vote hardly originated in Nova Scotia, having been adopted by the U.S. Wagner Act when it was first enacted. However, in the 1950's and 60's Canadian labour policy makers generally moved their labour legislation in the direction of enhancing the importance of "evidence" of union membership as the basis for certification, relegating the vote to secondary status, to be used only where the other evidence did not indicate clear majority support for the union or where employee petitions indicated a change of mind. Where, following labour board hearings with the attendant delays, a vote was ordered more often than not the applicant union lost. Generally speaking, therefore, "votes" had a bad name in union circles and were much sought after by employers. As has already been mentioned, in the mid-70's several orders of the Nova Scotia Labour Relations Board in contentious certification cases were quashed by Supreme Court on the basis that the Board has misapplied the legislation in respect of the "petition procedure".


Unpublished book chapter in Labour Law I Supplementary Materials Casebook (1994), archived at the Sir James Dunn Law library.