USW v Toronto and York Region Labour Council, 2019 CanLII 123094 (ON LRB) (decision dated December 24, 2019)

In this December 24, 2019 decision of the OLRB, Alternate Chair Matthew Wilson allowed the applicant to rely on electronic membership evidence. The USW had filed a displacement application for certification. Neither the incumbent trade union nor the employer opposed the reliance on electronic membership evidence. Alternate Chair Wilson highlighted the fact that when faced with submissions opposing the use of electronic membership evidence in another application the board may modify its approach depending on the circumstances. Alternate Chair Wilson reviewed the applicable sections of the Labour Relations Act and the Board’s Rules of Procedure noting that the Act does not stipulate the form in which membership evidence must be submitted. Similarly the Board’s Rules do not preclude electronic membership evidence. The filing of membership evidence must be in writing and include a signature but a electronic document with an electronic signature is not consistent with the Rules. The USW was able to explain the security features which satisfied the board of the authenticity of the electronic membership evidence. The USW detailed the process by which it created, used and collected electronic membership cards in a detailed appendix which included a hyperlink used to verify identity. The electronic membership card was encrypted and could not be modified and an audit trail email was created including the dates and times it was signed and verified by the individual and the organizer. This is the first time the Board accepted electronic membership evidence.

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