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This Act has "Not in Force" sections. See the Table of Legislative Changes.

Public Service Labour Relations Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 388

Contents
1Definitions
2Effect of Labour Relations Code
3Bargaining agent for government
4Bargaining units
5Certification
6Unfair labour practices
7Change of certification
8Collective bargaining
9Renewal or revision of collective agreement
10Form of collective agreements
11Exclusions from collective agreement
12Content of collective agreement
13Union security
14Settlement of disputes
15Notice of technological change
16No notice of future technological change
17No notice of current technological change
18Report
19Power to make regulations
20Offence and penalty
21Notices
22Copies to be filed
23Other Acts

Definitions

1  (1) In this Act:

"agency of the government" means a board, commission, association or other body, whether incorporated or unincorporated, all the members of which, or all the members of the board of management or board of directors of which,

(a) are appointed by an Act or by the Lieutenant Governor in Council, or

(b) if not appointed are, in the discharge of their duties, public officers or servants of the government, or, for the proper discharge of their duties are directly or indirectly responsible to the government;

"bargaining agent" means

(a) a union certified by the board as an agent to bargain collectively for a bargaining unit, or

(b) the agent designated under section 3 (1) to bargain on behalf of the government;

"bargaining unit" means a unit of employees appropriate for collective bargaining referred to in section 4;

"board" means the Labour Relations Board under the Labour Relations Code;

"collective agreement" means a duly executed written agreement between the bargaining agent for the government and a bargaining agent for a bargaining unit containing provisions respecting the terms and conditions of employment of employees, including rates of wages or salary, hours of work or other working conditions of employees;

"collective bargaining" or "bargain collectively" means

(a) negotiating in good faith to conclude a collective agreement, or a renewal or revision of a collective agreement,

(b) reducing to writing the terms of agreement arrived at respecting matters required to be inserted in a collective agreement by this Act, and other matters agreed to by the parties, and

(c) negotiating to settle disputes and grievances of employees included in the agreement, or represented by an employees' bargaining agent;

"Crown corporation" means an agency of the government that is a corporation whose employees

(a) are not employed or appointed under the Public Service Act, or

(b) are not declared by an Act to be public servants within the meaning of the Public Service Act;

"day" means a calendar day;

"division" means the BC Public Service Agency continued under section 5 of the Public Service Act;

"employee" means an employee as defined in the Public Service Act, or a person employed by or holding office at the pleasure of the government, but does not include any of the following:

(a) a deputy minister, associate deputy minister or assistant deputy minister;

(b) a practising lawyer or articled student as defined in section 1 (1) of the Legal Profession Act, who is engaged in the practice of law;

(c) a justice;

(d) a person authorized under an enactment to practise as a medical practitioner in British Columbia who is engaged in and working in the practice of that profession;

(e) a registrar, district registrar, deputy registrar or assistant deputy registrar of a registry of a court;

(f) a sheriff;

(f.1) a person employed as an industrial relations officer or employment standards officer of the Employment Standards Branch;

(f.2) a person appointed under the Public Service Act to exercise the powers of or perform the duties of

(i) the director under Part 5 of the Residential Tenancy Act, or

(ii) the director under Part 6 of the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act;

(f.3) a person appointed under the Public Service Act to perform the duties of a workers' adviser or employers' adviser under section 94 of the Workers Compensation Act;

(f.4) a person appointed under section 54 of the Coroners Act or retained under section 55 of that Act to perform the duties of a coroner;

(f.5) a person appointed to serve as an investigator under section 38.06 (2) [IIO investigators] of the Police Act;

(g) [Repealed 1998-37-35.]

(h) a person employed as a personnel officer;

(i) [Repealed 1998-37-35.]

(j) a person employed for a period of less than 31 days;

(k) [Repealed 1998-37-35.]

(l) a person who is not appointed under the Public Service Act and is employed by or in the service of any of the following:

(i) a Crown corporation;

(ii) the Queen's Printer under the Queen's Printer Act, other than clerical or administrative employees;

(iii) the British Columbia Utilities Commission under the Utilities Commission Act;

(iv) the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia under the Insurance Corporation Act;

(m) a chief court administrator or regional court administrator;

(n) a person employed as a member of the staff of the Auditor General;

(o) a person principally engaged in carrying out duties that protocol requires the government to perform;

(p) a member of the staff of the Ombudsperson;

(q) a person employed in the Provincial Treasury Division, the Treasury Board Staff Division, the Office of the Chief Investment Officer, the Economics and Policy Division, the Financial Management Branch and the Internal Audit Branch of the Ministry of Finance;

(r) a person employed in the division;

(s) a person employed as a trade development officer;

(t) a person employed in the Office of Legislative Counsel;

(u) a person employed in the Legal Services Branch of the Ministry of Justice;

(v) a person employed in the office of Government Communications and Public Engagement;

(w) an internal auditor in a ministry;

(x) a person employed with the Cabinet Secretariat;

(y) a person employed to provide administrative or clerical support services to a judge of a court in British Columbia;

(z) and (aa) [Repealed 1998-37-35.]

(bb) a person employed in the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions or by the Financial Institutions Commission established under the Financial Institutions Act;

(cc) a person employed under section 9 of the Securities Act;

(dd) a person employed by the property assessment appeal board;

(ee) a member of the staff of the Chief Electoral Officer;

(ff) a member of the staff of the Representative for Children and Youth;

(gg) a person employed in the Teacher Regulation Branch of the Ministry of Education;

(hh) a member of the staff of the Auditor General for Local Government under the Auditor General for Local Government Act.

"government" includes an agency of the government;

"lockout" includes

(a) the closing of a place of employment,

(b) the suspension of work, or

(c) a refusal by the government to continue to employ a number of its employees,

done to compel its employees, or to aid another employer to compel employees, to agree to terms and conditions of employment;

"minister" includes a person designated in writing by the minister;

"occupational group" means a group of employees in a bargaining unit with a similar occupation, trade, profession or activity as determined under section 10;

"strike" means "strike" as defined in the Labour Relations Code;

"technological change" means

(a) the introduction by the government into its work, undertaking or business of equipment or material of a different nature or kind than that previously used by the government in that work, undertaking or business, or

(b) a change in the manner, method or procedure in which the government carries on its work, undertaking or business that is directly related to the introduction of that equipment or material,

that significantly decreases the number of employees, but does not include normal layoffs resulting from a decrease in the amount of work to be done;

"union" means a local or Provincial organization or association of employees, or a local or Provincial branch of a national or international organization or association of employees in British Columbia, that has as one of its purposes the regulation in British Columbia of relations between the government and its employees through collective bargaining, and includes a council or association of unions.

(2) A person does not cease to be an employee within the meaning of this Act merely because of

(a) ceasing to work as a result of a strike that is not contrary to this Act, or

(b) a lockout or dismissal that is contrary to this Act.

Effect of Labour Relations Code

2  (1) Unless inconsistent with this Act, and for the purposes of this Act, the board has all the powers of the Labour Relations Board under the Labour Relations Code, and a union under this Act is deemed to be a trade union within the meaning of the Labour Relations Code.

(2) The board may make orders requiring the government's bargaining agent and an employees' bargaining agent to bargain collectively.

(3) The board may

(a) examine records and make other inquiries it considers necessary, including holding the hearings it considers advisable to determine any matter before it, and

(b) specify the nature of the evidence that an applicant must provide with or in support of an application under this Act, and the manner of application.

Bargaining agent for government

3  The BC Public Service Agency may act, under the direction of the Treasury Board, as the bargaining agent for the government.

Bargaining units

4  For the purpose of collective bargaining, every employee must be included in

(a) a nurses' bargaining unit, including all employees authorized under an enactment to practise as a registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse, including those employees who are eligible to become so authorized,

(b) a licensed professional bargaining unit, including all employees in a professional classification in the public service classification structure who are members of an association that had, before July 1, 1998, statutory authority to license a person to practise that profession, other than those persons described in paragraph (a), or

(c) a public service bargaining unit including all employees other than those persons described in paragraph (a) or (b).

Certification

5  When a union applies to the board to be certified as bargaining agent for employees in a bargaining unit described in section 4, the following provisions apply:

(a) if the board is satisfied that the union includes as members in good standing a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit on the date the board receives the application, the board must certify the union as the employees' bargaining agent;

(b) if the board determines that the union includes as members in good standing more than 35% and less than 51% of the employees in the appropriate bargaining unit on the date the board receives the application, the board must order a vote be taken of the employees in the bargaining unit to determine whether the majority elects the union as the bargaining agent;

(c) if the board orders a vote under paragraph (b),

(i) the board must certify the union as the employees' bargaining agent if a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit who cast ballots vote to elect the union as the bargaining agent, and

(ii) the board must not certify the union as the employees' bargaining agent if a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit who cast ballots fail to elect the union as the bargaining agent;

(d) the total number of employees in the bargaining unit must be the number employed on April 1 or October 1, whichever date immediately precedes the date on which the board receives the application for certification from the union.

Unfair labour practices

6  (1) A person acting on behalf of the government must not

(a) interfere with the formation or administration of a union, or the representation of employees by that union, or

(b) in any way discriminate against an employee engaged in the lawful activities of a union.

(2) An officer or member of a union must not coerce or intimidate an employee to persuade the employee to become a member of a union.

Change of certification

7  (1) The board may receive an application for certification from another union as bargaining agent for the employees in a bargaining unit if

(a) no collective agreement is in force, and 12 months have elapsed since the certification of a bargaining agent for the bargaining unit, or

(b) a collective agreement is in force, and the application is made during the seventh and eighth months that the agreement is in force, or within a greater period the board otherwise allows.

(2) If the board receives an application for change of certification of a bargaining agent under subsection (1), the board must determine whether the union applying represents a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit.

(3) If the board determines that the union applying represents a majority of the employees in the bargaining unit, the board must certify that union as bargaining agent for those employees, but otherwise must dismiss the application.

Collective bargaining

8  (1) If an employees' bargaining agent has been certified and no collective agreement respecting a bargaining unit is in force,

(a) the bargaining agent for the employees may, by written notice, require the government to begin collective bargaining, or

(b) the bargaining agent for the government may, by written notice, require the bargaining agent for the employees to begin collective bargaining in respect of the employees in the bargaining unit.

(2) If a bargaining agent has given notice under subsection (1), the employees' bargaining agent and the government's bargaining agent must, without delay, and in any case within 14 clear days after the notice was given or a further period that the parties agree on, meet and begin to bargain collectively with one another and make every reasonable effort to conclude a collective agreement.

Renewal or revision of collective agreement

9  (1) Not more than 90 days and not less than 60 days next preceding the date of the expiry or termination of a collective agreement, a party to the agreement may, by written notice, require the other party to begin collective bargaining with a view to renewing or revising the collective agreement or concluding a new collective agreement.

(2) Despite subsection (1), if a collective agreement provides for a period of notice to begin collective bargaining that is longer or shorter than that required under subsection (1), that provision of the collective agreement has effect and is deemed to be notice under this Act.

(3) If a party to the collective agreement gives notice under subsection (1), the parties must, without delay and in any case within 14 clear days after the notice was given or a further period the parties agree on, meet and begin to bargain collectively with one another and make every reasonable effort to conclude a renewal or revision of the collective agreement or a new collective agreement.

(4) If notice is not given under subsection (1) by either party 60 days or more before the date of expiry or termination of the collective agreement, both parties are deemed to have been given notice under this section 60 days before the date of expiry or termination, and then subsection (3) applies.

Form of collective agreements

10  (1) Two collective agreements are to apply to each bargaining unit, as follows:

(a) a master agreement including all the terms and conditions of employment common to all employees in the bargaining unit or to 2 or more occupational groups in the bargaining unit;

(b) a subsidiary agreement for each occupational group, including the terms and conditions of employment that apply only to employees in a specific occupational group in the bargaining unit.

(2) Specific occupational groups under subsection (1) (b) must be determined by negotiation between the parties.

Exclusions from collective agreement

11  (1) A collective agreement concluded under section 8 or 9 may exclude from its application certain employees or classes of employees.

(2) Employees or classes of employees to be excluded from the collective agreement may be determined by negotiation between the parties, but if the parties are unable to agree, either party may refer the matter to the board for a final and binding decision.

(3) In making its decision under subsection (2), the board must exclude those employees or classes of employees who are employed

(a) to exercise the functions, and do exercise the functions, of a manager or superintendent in the direction or control of employees,

(b) in a confidential planning or advisory position in the development of management policy for the government, or

(c) in a confidential capacity in matters relating to labour relations or personnel.

Content of collective agreement

12  Every collective agreement must include all matters affecting wages or salary, hours of work and other working conditions, except the following:

(a) the principle of merit and its application in the appointment and promotion of employees, subject to section 4 (2) of the Public Service Act;

(b) all matters included under the Public Service Pension Plan, continued under the Public Sector Pension Plans Act, and the pension plan rules made under that plan;

(c) the organization, establishment and administration of the ministries and branches of the government, except the effect of reductions in establishment of employees, which must be negotiated by the parties;

(d) the application of the system of classification of positions or job evaluation under the Public Service Act;

(e) the procedures and methods of training or retraining all employees not affected by section 15, other than training programs administered with a branch or ministry that apply to one occupational group only.

Union security

13  (1) Every collective agreement must contain terms that, respecting the persons in the bargaining unit who are employees on the date the union is certified as bargaining agent for that bargaining unit, provide that the government must do the following:

(a) deduct from the monthly wages or salary of each employee in the bargaining unit affected by the collective agreement, whether or not the employee is a member of the union, the amount of the regular monthly dues payable to the union by a member of the union;

(b) remit monthly to the union the amounts deducted under paragraph (a);

(c) inform the union monthly, or otherwise as provided in the collective agreement, of the names of the employees from whose monthly wages or salary deductions have been made in the preceding month and the amount deducted.

(2) This Act must not be construed as requiring a person who is an employee before the date the union is certified as bargaining agent to become a member of that union, but it is a condition of employment that a person who becomes an employee after a bargaining agent has been certified for the appropriate bargaining unit of that employee must become and remain a member of that union on completing 30 days as an employee.

(3) Any arrangement for deduction of dues between the government and a union must continue until

(a) a collective agreement is entered into by the parties, or

(b) that union fails to be certified, or is decertified, as the bargaining agent,

whichever first occurs.

Settlement of disputes

14  (1) On the written request of either party, the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board must appoint a mediator to confer with the parties and assist them in reaching a collective agreement if the parties are unable to agree on a matter that

(a) is required by this Act to be included in a collective agreement,

(b) either party requires to be included in a collective agreement, or

(c) is required to be negotiated under section 10 or 11.

(2) Within 10 days of the date of the mediator's appointment, or a longer period agreed on by both parties, the mediator must submit a report to the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board setting out the matters on which the parties have agreed and the matters on which the parties are unable to agree.

(3) If notified by the mediator under subsection (2) that the parties are unable to agree on a matter in dispute, the associate chair must request each party to advise him or her immediately whether the party agrees to have that matter submitted to arbitration for a final and binding decision.

(4) If the parties agree that the matter in dispute be referred to arbitrators under subsection (3), the arbitrators are to consist of 3 persons as follows:

(a) one to be nominated by the employees' bargaining agent;

(b) one to be nominated by the government's bargaining agent;

(c) a chair to be jointly nominated by the government's bargaining agent and the employees' bargaining agent.

(5) If

(a) either party fails to nominate a person under subsection (4) (a) or (b), or

(b) the parties fail to agree on a joint nomination of a chair under subsection (4) (c),

the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board must nominate a person under paragraph (a) or (b) or a chair under paragraph (c).

(6) The decision of the arbitrators on a matter in dispute under this section is final and binding on the parties.

(7) If neither party makes a written request for a mediator under subsection (1) or if either party notifies the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board under subsection (3) that the party does not agree to have the matter in dispute submitted to arbitrators for a final and binding decision, the employees' bargaining agent may conduct a vote, by secret ballot, as to whether or not the employees will strike.

(8) A person must not declare or authorize a strike and an employee must not strike until

(a) after a vote has been taken by secret ballot of the employees in the bargaining unit as to whether to strike or not to strike, and

(b) a majority of those employees who vote have voted in favour of a strike.

(9) If the matter in dispute arises in respect of the master collective agreement under section 10 (1) (a), the vote must be taken of all members of the union certified as the bargaining agent of one of the bargaining units described under section 4.

(10) If the matter in dispute arises in respect of the subsidiary collective agreement under section 10 (1) (b), the matter is deemed to be a matter for resolution under the master agreement.

(11) If the members of the union have voted under subsection (7) in favour of a strike,

(a) a person must not declare or authorize a strike and an employee must not strike, except during the 3 months immediately following the date the vote was taken, and

(b) an employee must not strike unless and until

(i) the government's bargaining agent has been notified in writing by the bargaining agent for the employees that the employees have voted in favour of strike and 3 days have elapsed after the notice was received, and

(ii) if a mediator has been appointed under subsection (1), the employees' bargaining agent has been notified by the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board that the mediator has made a report to the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board.

(12) The government has a discretion as to whether or not employees in a bargaining unit will be locked out.

(13) The government must not lock out an employee unless and until

(a) the employees' bargaining agent has been notified in writing by the government that the government will lock out the employees and 3 days have elapsed after the notice was received, and

(b) if a mediator has been appointed under subsection (1), the government's bargaining agent has been notified by the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board that the mediator has made a report to the associate chair of the Mediation Division of the board.

Notice of technological change

15  (1) If the government intends to make a technological change, it must give written notice of the change to the employees' bargaining agent.

(2) Within 14 days of the date of the notice under subsection (1), the government's bargaining agent and the employees' bargaining agent must begin collective bargaining to reach agreement as to the effects of the technological change and the way the collective agreement should be amended, if at all.

(3) If, under subsection (2), an agreement is not reached before the full implementation of the technological change, the employees' bargaining agent may apply to the board to have the collective agreement declared terminated.

(4) If the board determines, on application under subsection (3) and after the investigations it considers necessary, that a technological change has occurred, the board must declare the collective agreement terminated.

No notice of future technological change

16  (1) If notice is not received under section 15 and an employees' bargaining agent, or an employee, by written notice to the board, alleges that the government intends to make a technological change, the board must make

(a) the investigations it considers necessary to determine whether the alleged change would constitute a technological change, and

(b) an order as to whether the alleged changes, when fully implemented, would constitute a technological change.

(2) An order under subsection (1) (b) is final and binding on the parties and all persons affected.

(3) If the board determines that the alleged change would constitute a technological change, the board must notify the government in writing of its decision.

(4) Within 14 days of the date of the notice under subsection (3), the government must begin collective bargaining with the employees' bargaining agent to reach agreement as to the effects of the technological change and the way the collective agreement should be amended, if at all.

(5) If an agreement is not reached under subsection (4) before the full implementation of the technological change, the employees' bargaining agent may apply to the board to have the collective agreement declared terminated.

(6) If the board determines, on application under subsection (5) and after the investigations it considers necessary, that a technological change has occurred, the board must declare the collective agreement terminated.

No notice of current technological change

17  (1) If notice has not been received under section 15 and the employees' bargaining agent, or an employee, by written notice to the board, alleges that a technological change has occurred or is occurring, the board must make

(a) the investigations it considers necessary to determine whether a technological change has occurred or is occurring, and

(b) an order as to whether a technological change has occurred or is occurring.

(2) An order under subsection (1) (b) is final and binding on the parties and all persons affected.

(3) If the board determines that a technological change has occurred or is occurring, the board must notify the parties in writing of its decision.

(4) Within 14 days of the date of the notice under subsection (3), the parties must begin collective bargaining for the purpose of revising the collective agreement.

(5) If an agreement is not reached under subsection (4) within 14 days, the employee's bargaining agent may apply to the board to have the collective agreement declared terminated.

Report

18  Within 30 days after the start of the first session in each year, the minister must lay before the Legislative Assembly a report of the minister's administration of this Act during the preceding year.

Power to make regulations

19  (1) Subject to the approval of the Lieutenant Governor in Council, the board may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Every regulation is deemed part of this Act.

Offence and penalty

20  (1) A person who refuses or neglects to observe or carry out an order made under this Act commits an offence.

(2) A person who commits an offence under this Act is liable on conviction

(a) if an individual, to a fine of not more than $1 000, or

(b) if the government or a union, to a fine of not more than $10 000.

Notices

21  For the purposes of this Act and any proceeding taken under it,

(a) a notice, application, request or nomination required or permitted to be given by the government or its bargaining agent may be given by the division,

(b) a notice required or permitted to be given to the government or its bargaining agent may be given to the division, and

(c) a communication given by registered mail or certified mail is presumed, unless the contrary is proved, to have been received by the addressee in the ordinary course of mail.

Copies to be filed

22  Each party to a collective agreement or amendment to a collective agreement must, promptly on its execution, file one copy with the minister and the Minister of Labour.

Other Acts

23  Unless otherwise provided in this Act, the Labour Relations Code applies, but, if this Act is contrary to, in conflict with or inconsistent with that or any other Act, this Act prevails.