OLRB clarifies public interest standing following Bill 148 amendments
The Ontario Labour Relations Board has held that an employer does not have standing to argue that the newly enacted “list provisions” of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 are unconstitutional.
Section 6.1 of the Act, newly enacted following Bill 148 and the Changing Workplaces Review, allows a union to apply for a list of employees and their contact information for organizing purposes.
The employer in this case challenged the constitutionality of section 6.1, arguing that it infringed the privacy rights of its employees.
Goldblatt Partners LLP represented the Ontario Federation of Labour, which intervened in the case in support of the UFCW.
The Board held that the employer had not standing to raise the privacy rights of its employees. The Board’s decision was influenced by a long line of cases in which employees were allowed, and in fact required, to speak for themselves in certification issues, and employers were prohibited from advancing their own interests by “bootstrapping” the interests of employees. It concluded:
… the Employer does not have the status to raise these constitutional questions. It cannot speak for its employees, by asserting Charter rights not belonging to it (but to its employees who have chosen not to appear before the Board and not to participate). There is no reason in the circumstances of this case to grant the Employer standing to do so.
Lindsay Lawrence and Daniel Sheppard represented the Ontario Federation of Labour.