The Labour Relations Act
Duty of Fair Representation

STACEY REGINALD BALL

82 SCOLLARD STREET TORONTO, ON, M5R 1G2

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STACEY REGINALD BALL

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The Labour Relations Act governs various aspects of labour relations for most Ontario workplaces

THE ACT

Ontario Labour Relations Board

“Labour relations” here refers to unionized employees. The Act deals with the certification and decertification of unions, the collective bargaining process, mandatory grievance arbitration, strikes and lock-outs, unfair labour practices and special rules with respect to the construction industry. The Act also covers the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB). Unionized employees are governed by a collective bargaining agreement, which sets out many terms and conditions of the working relationship. The agreement will typically contain a grievance and arbitration procedure. If an employee has an issue in the workplace, they need to go through the union and follow the procedure outlined in the collective agreement. The union will then decide what to do with the employee’s complaint.

The union has the final decision on how far a grievance should proceed, and whether or not the grievance should go on to arbitration. Unions have considerable discretion in deciding what to do with an employee’s grievance. They can consider any legitimate factors beyond the grievor’s (employee’s) interests. Unionized employees are owed a duty of fair representation by their union, as per Section 74 of the Act. This duty of fair representation states that a trade union shall not act in a manner that is arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith in the representation of any employee. If an employee feels their union has breached this duty, they can file a claim under Section 74 to the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

​Labour Relations Officer

The standard to prove a breach of the duty of fair representation is quite high. The specific definitions of “arbitrary”, “discriminatory” or behaviour that is in “bad faith” have been developed over years. A union acts arbitrarily if its conduct is superficial, capricious, indifferent or in reckless disregard of an employee’s interests. A union exhibits discriminatory conduct if a factor such as sex, race, religion or age impacts the way a union handles a complaint. A union acts in “bad faith” if they make decisions based out of ill-will, including hostility, revenge or dishonesty.

The OLRB will assign a Labour Relations Officer to the file once the application is made, whose goal it is to help the parties reach a settlement. If the parties cannot settle, then the process may proceed to a consultation with a Vice-Chair of the Board. Note that if the OLRB is investigating your case for breach of the duty of fair representation, they are not ruling on the merits of your initial complaint or grievance. Please note that the above information does not constitute legal advice. It is general information about the law. If you require legal advice with an employment issue, please contact the experts at Ball Professional Corporation.

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CLIENT REVIEWS

Google Reviews

Steven Wang
Steven Wang
19:58 18 Mar 19
Stacey was the third lawyer that I had hired to represent me, after the previous two didn't achieve anything for me. Stacey is very different. He is not only the author of Canadian Employment Law with profound knowledge and experience, he is also the most efficient one, direct to the point. He is the toughest one, well known by HR people, and he takes care of his client all by himself. There is no junior lawyers under him. That's the big difference comparing with other big employment law firms on Google, where I could only meet with a young lawyer with little experience. After he spoke with me for 45 minutes, he found the best way to break through. He didn't need to ask for a lot of document and he didn't bill hours to review them. His fee structure is aligned with his client's best interest. My problem was solved very quickly with a great result, and I only have to meet with him twice and exchange some emails. He's not just a tough fighter and negotiator, he got great strategy to make a deal. He answered my emails during the holidays. He comes in the office very early, and we had a conference call at 7am in the morning when we need to make a quick decision. To me, he is the best employment lawyer, a patient teacher and a friend. I strongly recommend him to those who need help.
Aiden Nix
Aiden Nix
01:13 06 Apr 19
Stacey was super helpful and increased my settlement a significant amount. He is very busy so you have to chase him down a bit but that is minor issue compared to all of the positives. Overall if you need a good labour lawyer then talk to him right away. He is THE lawyer to go to in Ontario!Thanks Stacey!
Sergei R
Sergei R
05:01 06 Dec 18
My experience with Stacey R. Ball was very positive. His fees are reasonable and value I received for the money was outstanding. Luckily, after his advice my situation was resolved almost amicably. You will not believe how reasonable some people can become after they start suspecting you have a good lawyer. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If you suspect you might need a lawyer in the future because of some developing situation at work, I highly recommend you wait no more and talk to Stacey.
Danny T
Danny T
18:34 26 Feb 19
Stacey has recently represented me. He’s patient, but to the point which I can appreciate. No fluff. He worked quickly and even responded during his holidays. Definitely highly recommended.
Alexa Arsenault
Alexa Arsenault
19:36 01 Nov 18
If I could give Stacey Ball 30 stars I would! Stacey was right on the “ball” when it came to my legal matter. I called his office and his efficient staff scheduled me for an appointment the next day. He’s a great listener and comes to the point quickly, confidently, and succinctly. He explained best and worst case scenarios and dealt with my matter without delay. He was successful in concluding my legal matter to my satisfaction and met all my expectations. I highly recommend Stacey for all your legal matters.Alexa
Alex McMillan
Alex McMillan
18:05 21 Apr 19
Mr Ball represented me in a wrongful dismissal case. It was quite evident from my initial consultation until the conclusion of my settlement. Mr. Ball mirrored professionalism, empathy and above all confidence. Mr Ball reviewed my case and informed me what I was entitled to and what to expect at time of settlement. I was represented diligently right up to the conclusion of my settlement. He was able to negotiate an amount that was above my expectations. I would highly recommend Mr. Ball to anyone in need of assistance in any type of employment situations. In conclusion that one of the main things that impressed me most was that he at all times puts his clients FIRST.
Daphne Rodrigues
Daphne Rodrigues
23:54 22 May 19
Stacey was my second lawyer I retained after my original lawyer felt that he would be better suited to deal with my difficult employment matter. Stacey was very direct, efficient and respectful of my time. He was tenacious in negotiations and challenged/invalidated all points the other lawyer argued. I would not have achieved my outcome without Stacey. Thank you!Daphne Scott
Kate Miller
Kate Miller
15:35 23 May 19
Stacey gave me good advice on my first consult. Super professional and competent. If I ever need employment lawyer again I would definitely come back to Stacey!
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