October 14, 2020

In response to enquiries let’s review the process together.

The question is: How do the electricians and apprentices at a Company achieve representation by the IBEW in their employment with that Company?

The short answer is, if a significant majority of the employees at a Company sign-up to be represented by the IBEW, we could file an application to represent you automatically without the additional step of a vote. Ontario labour law recognizes your card-based evidence as support and having a similar effect as a vote.

Under the construction regulations the process of unionizing a Company is governed by the Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA). Under this legislation there are two ways to be certified as union employer.


If, over 55% of the employees at a Company wish to be represented by the IBEW through the “card check” process. This is done by either requesting and signing the electronic version offered through our web site, or a hand-signed paper copy.

  • The IBEW would file an application to certify to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB).
  • The employer is served the application and has an opportunity to respond.
  • The OLRB compares the certification application with the response, and makes a determination as to whether the support is greater than 55%.
  • The OLRB issues a decision.


If, between 40% and 55% of employees sign cards, a vote-based application can be made. The OLRB will review the application and the response and order a vote.

  • Both processes require signing cards to show support.
  • Votes are typically conducted at the company shop within 5 business days of the original application and employees present on the day of application may vote.*
  • An OLRB representative conducts the vote.
  • The Union and employer can appoint scrutineers to validate its fairness.
  • If over 50% of Company employees vote yes, the company will then be unionized.

At each step along the way, the process is designed to protect your confidentiality.

*Under the circumstances of COVID-19, the Labour Board has been conducting electronic votes.