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New Federal Bill Will Allow Secret Ballot In Union Elections

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Toronto: The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has welcomed the passage of Bill C-525 in the House of Commons, which, among other measures, would require votes by secret ballot to certify and decertify unions in federally-regulated workplaces. CFIB hopes the Senate will move quickly to pass the legislation.

“CFIB has long advocated for rules in the workplace that support and protect the democratic rights of both employees and employers,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “As secret ballot votes are a cornerstone of our democracy, if the process is good enough to elect our politicians, it should be good enough to form a union.”

Small businesses overwhelmingly support secret ballot voting. When CFIB members were asked whether secret ballot voting should be mandatory prior to any union certification, 76 per cent of respondents voted yes. Even among current and formerly unionized Canadians, a poll commissioned by the Canadian LabourWatch Association found strong support (86 per cent in each case) for secret ballot voting.

“Unfortunately, the current card- based certification process, open to intimidation and coercion, continues to exist in many provinces,” added Kelly. “In fact, in 2012, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador eliminated the right to secret ballots in union certification drives. As Canada is the only country in the industrialized world that still allows forced union dues on workers, all governments should adopt the the most democratic process, secret ballot votes, to forming a union.”

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