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The Vote

Automatic Certification

In the following provinces,  a representation vote may not be required, provided the union is able to obtain the support of a given percentage  of  employees.  If enough employees sign representation cards to reach this percentage, the union is automatically certified to represent all employees and no vote is required.


Required %  of Signed Cards



New Brunswick


Prince Edward Island

50% + 1


50% + 1

All territories

50% + 1

For all other provinces, once the application for certification has been filed, a representation vote will occur within a certain number of business days (depending upon the province). If either party does not think a vote should take place within that time period, it must provide the other party and the Board with written reasons and provide a suggested vote date.  Again, depending on the province, a brief hearing might be held.

The Voting Place

With respect to location, votes are usually held at the workplace, if that is practical.  Sometimes they take place in the Board office, or sometimes at a convenient local venue. Votes should be conducted so that employees have the opportunity to vote during regular working hours. However, generally not more than one hour will be allocated for every 60 eligible voters.

Although laws vary province to province, in general, each party is to select a contact person for the period prior to the vote, a scrutineer for each polling place, and a representative to act as its agent at the counting of the ballots. Scrutineers check the voters' list at the polling place, assist in identification of voters and otherwise assist in the conduct of the vote. The scrutineer has the right to challenge prospective voters on the grounds of identity or where their right to vote appears to be doubtful. Therefore, a scrutineer should be someone who is familiar with the personnel. The representative acting for the party at the counting should have the authority to withdraw any of the party's challenges to voter eligibility, consent to allowing irregularly marked ballots and generally act for the party they represent.

Challenged Ballots

The vote is conducted by a Labour Relations Officer or another officer so designated by that province's Labour Board. Voters must identify themselves and are marked on the voters' list. Where a voter is challenged (because either the employer or the union feels that a particular worker should not be allowed to vote), his ballot will be segregated.  Segregated ballots may be placed in a sealed ballot box by the Board and may be counted at a later date, if necessary.

Rights of Employees

You are entitled, by law, to vote your free choice in a fair, honest, secret-ballot vote to determine whether a majority of your fellow employees want union representation.  When a vote is held, the Board protects your right to vote freely under the law. Improper conduct will not be permitted. All parties must cooperate fully with the Labour Board in maintaining the basic principles of a fair vote as expressed by law.