3. Get legal advice

A lawyer can help you:

  • understand your rights as a unionized worker
  • resolve issues with your representative
  • contact staff in the union office if your union representative won't help
  • decide if you should make a complaint to the of Ontario or the Ontario Labour Relations Board about your union


If you think you have been discriminated against by your union, you should speak with a lawyer about your situation as soon as possible. You can get free legal advice and information from the Human Rights Legal Support Centre. It does not matter how much money you make.

The Centre can help you figure out:

  • if your situation is
  • if there are steps you can take to convince your employer or union to you, for example sending your union or employer a demand letter
  • if you can make a claim with the Human Rights of Ontario
  • what evidence can help you prove discrimination by your employer or union

The Centre can help you to apply to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and sometimes they can support you at the Tribunal.

You can use the Centre's online tool Can we help you? to see if you might be able to make a claim.

Duty of fair representation

You might be able to make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board if you think the union did not meet their duty to fairly represent you. This is called making an about the union's “duty of fair representation.” This can be difficult to prove, and it can be a long process.

It is important to get legal help from an employment lawyer if you are thinking about making a duty of fair representation application.

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