What can I do if my union won’t help me?

5. Make a complaint to the Ontario Labour Relations Board

If you decide to make a complaint against your to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (Labour Board), you should try to get legal help.

Union members rarely win at the Labour Board when they make complaints against their union. But you might have a better chance if you get help from a lawyer who knows about applications to the Labour Board.

Starting the application

You start your application by filling out an Application Regarding Union’s Duty of Fair Representation (Form A-29) and a Notice of Application (Form C-14).

Next, you give copies of these application forms to your employer and the senior union official for your . You also give both of them a blank Response/Intervention – Application Regarding Union’s Duty of Fair Representation (Form A-30).

Then, you give your application forms to the Labour Board. The Labour Board has detailed rules about what to do and how and when to do it. If you don't follow these rules, they can refuse to look at your application.

The Labour Board can also reject or “dismiss” your application without having a consultation or a hearing. They can do this if they think that your application does not show that the union has broken the law, even if what you say is true.

Meeting with a Labour Relations Officer

After the Labour Board gets your application, a Labour Relations Officer usually meets with you and the union to see if you can agree on how to solve the problem. Sometimes they also meet with the employer.

Going to a consultation

If you and the union cannot agree, the next step is usually to have a consultation. At a consultation, the Vice-Chair of the Labour Board asks you questions.

You don't usually bring witnesses to a consultation. But if you have any documents that help show what happened, you should bring them.

The Vice-Chair then makes a decision about your application. They can decide:

  • to reject or “dismiss” your application
  • that you should have a hearing, but this rarely happens
  • that your union failed in its duty to you as a member. If this happens, they can order the union to represent you in a complaint against your employer.
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