What is Labour and Employment Law?

Labour Law

Labour law deals with issues arising in the context of a unionized workplace.  Union/Management relations are governed primarily by the Labour Relations Code and the Public Service Employee Relations Act.  Once the Union and the Employer have been defined and recognized by the Labour Relations Board, they are required to negotiate, in good faith, a collective agreement.  The Code specifies that the collective agreement must contain certain provisions (grievance procedure, etc.) but largely, the parties are permitted to tailor their own agreement to their particular needs.  Labour Law also governs the rules with respect to strikes and lockouts and the duty of Unions to represent their members fairly.

Employment Law

Employment law deals with issues arising in the context of non-unionized individuals.  Employers have a separate contract with each and every one of their employees.  Some of the law which governs these contracts is found in the Employment Standards Act, but the interpretation and enforcement of these contracts is left largely to the Courts.

Contracts of employment may be written but most of the time they are not.  Even when they are written, it is often the case that they are incomplete. When terms are unclear or absent, the Courts will imply the parties' agreement. This can make contractual interpretation difficult for both employers and employees. 

Unfortunately, a topical issue at present involves the rights of both employers and employees when it comes to ending an employee's employment with the employer. For more information on this issue, please see our Article.

Contact One of Our Labour and Employment Lawyers