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Ontario’s small businesses say “no” to card-based certification

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Proposed labour changes include no secret ballot vote in three sectors

Toronto, August 2, 2017 – Two-thirds (67 per cent) of small businesses in Ontario are opposed to replacing the current secret ballot vote process with a card-based system for union certification, according to a recent Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) poll.

Only five per cent of businesses answered “yes” to the survey question: “Should the Ontario government replace the secret ballot vote system with a card-based system for union certification in all sectors?” A further 17 per cent responded that they had no interest in the issue, and 11 per cent were undecided.

“These results demonstrate the desire of the small business community to protect democracy and maintain the fundamental right of employees to a secret ballot vote in union certification,” said Julie Kwiecinski, CFIB’s director of provincial affairs for Ontario.

Except in the construction industry, Ontario currently requires that union certification be endorsed by a majority of employees through secret ballot voting, after 40 per cent sign cards indicating their wish to form a union. The Ontario government’s Bill 148, which includes minimum wage hikes to $15 by 2019, proposes to remove the secret ballot vote from employees for union certification in three sectors: home care/community services, building services, and the temporary help agency industry.

“The secret ballot vote is the only way to ensure the legitimacy of the union certification process,” said Ryan Mallough, CFIB’s senior policy analyst for Ontario. “If it’s good enough to choose our government, it’s good enough to choose whether one wishes to join a union.”

The next stage in the Bill 148 process is consideration of amendments after 1st Reading committee, which is expected to take place at Queen’s Park August 21-25.

“Business owners are concerned that Bill 148 could be amended to strip employees of the secret ballot vote process in even more sectors,” said Kwiecinski. “We urge MPPs to stand up for democracy and protect employees’ voting rights.”

To arrange an interview with Julie Kwiecinski or Ryan Mallough, please contact Kiara Morrissey at 416-222-8022, or [email protected] 

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 42,000 in Ontario.