Certification Process

The process for supporting the Society in your bid to secure bargaining rights is simple. It begins with your signing a confidential membership card. By confidential we mean that the employer does not ever see your signed card, and has no right to know whether or not you have signed one.

  • A union can apply to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) for a certification vote to become the employees’ exclusive bargaining agent (representative) so long as the union establishes that 40 per cent of the employees support it.  Such support is usually achieved through the signing of a membership card.
  • Once membership cards are collected, an application for certification will be made to the OLRB.  The employer is notified of the application prior to or at the same time the application is delivered to the Board.
  • Membership evidence is kept confidential by the OLRB.
  • A secret ballot representational vote will normally be held 5 business days from the union’s application to be certified as the employees’ agent.  If more than 50 per cent of the employees vote in favour of the union, the OLRB will certify the union to represent them.  If less than 50 per cent of the employees vote for the union, the application is dismissed.
  • If an application for certification is dismissed or in certain circumstances where an application is withdrawn, a mandatory 12-month waiting period must be observed before further attempts at certification can be made by any union.
  • If the employer interferes with the certification process and as a result, the initial representational vote “did not likely reflect the true wishes of employees in the bargaining unit,” another vote may be held or the Board may order other steps to be taken.  In some extreme circumstances, the Board has the authority to grant automatic certification.
  • Employees are allowed to talk to their colleagues about unionizing and get cards signed at work, so long as it is not on the employer’s time.  Employees are permitted to carry out such activities on breaks, lunch hours and before or after work.
  • After the vote, the OLRB will set a date for a hearing to settle any unresolved challenges and issues from the vote (if any) before granting an official certification to the union.