About the Labour Relations Board

The Labour Relations Board (LRB) is an independent adjudicative body responsible for the application and interpretation of PEI labour laws. The Board receives applications, complaints and appeals from employees, employers, unions and the labour/management community on a variety of employment and labour-related matters.

Role of the Labour Relations Board

Through the authority of the PEI Labour Act and regulations, the LRB processes and investigates applications and resolves or hears workplace matters brought before it. The board also makes policy decisions.

What types of labour matters will the LRB adjudicate?

Common types of applications may include:

Trade Union Certification - forming a union to represent groups of employees in collective bargaining over terms and conditions of employment

  • Amendment of Certification Order - Request changes to an existing certification
  • Revocation of Certification Order -Changing employees from union to non-union status
  • Voluntary Recognition – An employer voluntarily recognizes and bargains with a trade union.

Jurisdictional Dispute Complaint - A dispute specific to the assignment of work.  
Sale, lease or transfer of Business and Successor Union Rights - Transfer of business and successor rights for the employer. 
Unfair Labour Practice Complaint - An alleged violation of a section of the Labour Act. (Do these belong here? Arbitration (interest and grievance), collective bargaining process and disputes, strike and lockout applications)

What is the process to initiate a board action or proceeding?

An application, complaint or any other matter must be filed in order for the Board to take action. Each application must be verified by statutory declaration and made in accordance with its Regulations.

The Board is responsible for the fair and timely processing of all applications. It is to determine its own practice and procedure but is to give full opportunity to all interested persons to present evidence and to make representation. 

Evidence which the parties rely upon may be given by affidavit or statutory declaration prior to or during a hearing or under oath at a hearing and witnesses may be cross-examined. Any affected party can call witnesses. Parties involved in a matter before the Board can use a lawyer or an agent or they can represent themselves.  

The Board will not disclose employee’s trade union choices - these are kept confidential. The Board is not strictly bound by the formal rules of evidence. 

The Board will forward copies of the complete application, with instruction, to all identified parties who have been deemed to have an interest in the matter.

Just as in a court of law, the Board’s proceedings are open to the public, but only those directly affected by the matter, or their representatives, may participate.

Hearings are usually held in a location convenient to the parties. 

Who can make application to the Board?

An application to the board or any notice may be signed:

  • by an employer who is an individual, by the employer;
  • where several individuals are jointly employers, by a majority of the said individuals;
  • by a corporation, by one of its authorized managers or by one or more of the principal executive officers;
  • by a trade union or employers’ organization:
  • by any two officers of the trade union or employers’ organization, or 
  • by any person authorized for such purpose by a resolution duly passed at a meeting of the trade union or employers’ organization.

What is the Board’s role in a labour relations dispute?

The Board’s role is to interpret and apply the legislation to process the matters covered by the legislation. A grievance arbitrator can decide what a collective agreement means or whether it has been applied properly in particular circumstances. An interest arbitrator can decide what the terms of a new collective agreement should be. The Board is a permanent board while each arbitration board is set up just to hear a specific case.

The board is also mandated to promote an environment of industrial peace and harmony by ensuring uninterrupted production of goods and services.

The Board is committed to early dispute resolution where possible. All parties to a labour relations dispute are encouraged to consider options for resolution at all stages of its processes including the hearing stage. 

The Board offers informal settlement options to the parties, but also holds hearings and makes binding rulings whenever necessary.

In meeting this objective, the office:

  • responds to applications for conciliation and mediation services upon request from labour and/or management when there is an impasse in negotiation; 
  • averts work stoppages through third party assistance; 
  • works with the parties in resolving work stoppages; 
  • assists in the development of sound labour / management relations; 
  • assists organizations in establishing a labour / management committee in the workplace. 

Can a decision of the Board be appealed?

The Board’s rulings are final and binding. While there is no appeal from Board decisions, the Court of Queen’s Bench does have the power to review those decisions and set them aside if, in specific circumstances, they exceed Board powers under the Act or involve an interpretation of the law that is obviously unreasonable.

The staff of the Board cannot provide legal or other advice but they may be able to describe the Board’s practices and procedures and provide direction concerning sections of the Labour Act and Regulations. 

Who serves on the board?

An equal number of employee and employer representatives are appointed from among individuals who apply through Engage PEI.  For further information regarding Board membership, including a list of current members, please visit Executive Council's information page.

Who is the minister responsible?

The minister responsible is the Minister of Economic Growth, Tourism & Culture

Contact:

Hazel Walsh (Office Coordinator)
Sherwood Business Centre
161 St. Peters Road
PO Box 2000 Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 
Telephone: (902) 368-5550
Email:  hawalsh@gov.pe.ca

Published date: 
May 28, 2019