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About the Board

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The Alberta Labour Relations Board is the independent and impartial tribunal responsible for the day-to-day application and interpretation of Alberta's labour laws. It processes applications and holds hearings. The Board actively encourages dispute resolution, employs officers for investigations and makes major policy decisions. There are Board offices in both Edmonton and Calgary.

The Labour Relations Code encourages parties to settle their disputes through honest and open communication. The Board offers informal settlement options to the parties, but it also has inquiry and hearing powers to make binding rulings whenever necessary.

Board Membership

The Board consists of a Chair, two full-time Vice-Chairs, three part-time Vice-Chairs, and approximately 37 part-time members. The members are representative of both labour and management, and appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor in Council for specified terms.



How the Board Operates

The Labour Relations Board receives, investigates and decides applications for certification from trade unions as well as applications to vary or revoke certificates previously issued. It also conducts representation and proposal votes, and supervises strike and lockout votes. The Board resolves disputes about the operation of the Labour Relations Code or the collective bargaining process.

The Board has the power to decide whether a strike or lockout in progress is unlawful and, if necessary, order that it cease. The Board can regulate picketing by ensuring that the restrictions imposed by the Code are enforced, and by balancing the interests of those engaged in lawful picketing activity and the interests of other parties affected by the picketing.

The Code gives the Board the authority to make many other determinations, such as whether a person is an employee or whether a collective agreement has been entered into (Section 12(2)).  In the provincial public sector, the Public Service Employee Relations Act gives the Board similar powers.

The Board publishes Information Bulletins which give information about Board processes and specific applications.



Alberta's Labour Laws

The Labour Relations Board administers the Labour Relations Code, the Public Service Employee Relations Act and the Police Officers Collective Bargaining Act. These Acts apply to most unionized employees in the province, but exclude employers and employees in farm or ranch labour, domestic work and in industries falling under federal jurisdiction, such as airlines, railways, interprovincial trucking and shipping, and telecommunications. Self-employed workers are not covered by the Code. Some other employees in Alberta have their labour relations governed entirely by special Acts, such as the Post Secondary Legislation Act , or partially so, as is the case under the Police Officers Collective Bargaining Act and the School Act.

The Code also excludes people who, in the Board's view, exercise managerial functions or who are employed in a confidential capacity in matters related to labour relations. It does not apply to doctors, dentists, architects, engineers and lawyers while they are employed in their professional capacities.

The Code contains a number of provisions outlining the rights and responsibilities of employers, trade unions and employees in labour relations.

In Alberta, employees have the right to bargain collectively with their employers. The Labour Relations Code guarantees this right and establishes methods for employees to choose trade union representation. The Code describes how a trade union bargains with an employer over terms and conditions of employment to arrive at a collective agreement. Rules are set out that govern the labour relations activities of trade unions, employers and employees.

The Public Service Employee Relations Act gives similar rights and responsibilities to employers and employees in the provincial government and its agencies. Significant differences between the two are outlined in the public sector section of the Guide to Alberta's Labour Laws. While all the substantive provisions affecting public sector employees are in the Public Service Employee Relations Act, a number of procedural powers the board uses to deal with public service matters come from the Code.

The Guide to Alberta's Labour Laws gives a more extensive overview of the legislation.



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