Federal Liberals Reverse Conservative Labour Legislation – Does the Certification Model Have an Effect on Union Density?

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The federal government is poised to enact Bill C-4 to reverse two pieces of legislation enacted by the Conservative government last year.

This edition of Human Capital Law and Policy was guest authored by Thomas A. Roper, Q.C., Chair, Roper Greyell LLP.


  • The federal government has introduced legislation that will revert federally regulated industries back to a card-check system for determining majority support for union certification and decertification.
  • The mandatory secret ballot vote requirement was introduced by the Conservative government and was in place for less than a year. The new Liberal legislation will return the federal certification/decertification process back to the historical status quo, but runs counter to a shift towards secret ballot voting in provincial jurisdictions.
  • The federal government is also repealing a controversial piece of Conservative legislation that required labour organizations to publicly disclose details of transactions over $5,000 and employee compensation in excess of $100,000.
  • The evidence indicates unions file more applications for certification and succeed in a greater percentage of such applications under a card-check certification system than under a mandatory vote system