We provide a wide range of services to unionized companies as early as when a union is campaigning to represent employees.
Applications for Certification
The Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995 and the Canada Labour Code imposes strict requirements on employers during a union’s organizing drive. Even without intent or desire, a company can easily run afoul of these obligations.
The Firm provides advice and guidance as soon as an application for certification is served on a company. We can assist you in communicating with employees during the drive in a manner which will not expose the company to liability under the legislation, and ensure that you do not contravene the statutory freeze period imposed after the filing of the application for certification. We assist corporations in understanding the limitations set by the freeze period and in determining whether initiatives previously planned may still be implemented post-application.
We also prepare detailed responses to these applications in the short time frame afforded by the legislation to ensure that the Boards are in receipt of full and complete information with respect to workforce that the union is seeking to organize. We represent employers before the Board where matters related to the appropriate bargaining unit arise or whether a certain position should be excluded from the unit.
Either as part of the bargaining team, or as an external expert, we provide advice and representation during collective bargaining, mediation and conciliation sessions and, have acted as media spokesperson during collective bargaining and labour disruptions.
We have acted as chief negotiator for private and public sector employers. Our approach is to work with bargaining teams to ensure a full understanding and proactive approach to the following:
- assistance/advice regarding the selection of bargaining team members
- review of the approach to collective bargaining
- review of the statutory regime and its implications
- the roles of the team and our approach to bargaining
- dealing with the “statutory freeze” in terms and conditions of employment
- communications with employees during negotiations
- statutory conciliation and mediation processes
We are experienced in providing advice and representation in binding arbitration proceedings, involving presentation of collective bargaining positions before a statutory appointed arbitrator, under the provisions of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995 and the Hospitals Labour Disputes Arbitration Act.
Strike and Lockout
The Firm has extensive experience with strike preparation and contingency planning. We meet the employer’s management team prior to the strike/lock-out deadline to prepare a strategic plan to ensure that the strike does not entirely shutdown the employer’s operations, and provide day-to-day strategic advice on how employers can cope with operational issues during these times.
The Firm provides clients with strategic and proactive advice to guide employers in their human resources and labour relations issues. We provide advice on a daily basis on all issues arising in the workplace. We are aware that our clients have varying levels of experience in labour relations matters, and cater to individual requirements by customizing our approach to specific employer needs. We feel that it is critical that we understand the client’s work environment, and endeavour to familiarize ourselves with the client’s mandate, mission and business activities, in order to best assist them in achieving their labour relations goals at the least cost and with least impact on their operations. We regularly provide advice and representation on:
- dealing with workplace insubordination
- progressive discipline and corrective action
- discharge for cause
- “last chance” agreements
- attendance management and innocent absenteeism terminations
- collective agreement interpretation
- harassment complaints and investigations
- human resources policy development
Labour Relations Board Proceedings
We regularly provide advice and representation before the Ontario Labour Relations Board, Canada Industrial Relations Board and Public Service Labour Relations Board on matters relating to:
- union certifications
- bargaining unit reviews and consolidations
- unfair labour practices
- bad faith bargaining complaints
- related employer/sale of business responses
- duty of fair representation complaints
- Occupational Health and Safety complaints