What role does a certified bargaining agent have in the enforcement of collective agreements?

Canada (Federal), Canada

The following excerpt is from Allen v. Alberta, 2003 SCC 13 (CanLII), [2003] 1 SCR 128:

13 The judgment of our Court in St. Anne Nackawic brought to an end a long period of jurisprudential development and uncertainty as to the respective roles of labour arbitrators and courts in the enforcement of collective agreements. It adopted a model of exclusive jurisdiction of arbitrators over disputes arising from collective agreements, rather than upholding the overlapping jurisdiction of common law courts over such conflicts. This model reflects the nature of the labour relations regime which has existed in Canada for a number of years. A certified bargaining agent holds exclusive bargaining rights in respect of a group of employees. It represents all the members of the unit and negotiates with the employer to arrive at a collective agreement that defines their employment conditions. This agreement binds the union, the employees and the employer. The union is held to a duty of fair representation of the employees it represents. (See Hémond v. Coopérative fédérée du Québec, 1989 CanLII 46 (SCC), [1989] 2 S.C.R. 962, at p. 975, per Gonthier J.; Noël v. Société d’énergie de la Baie James, [2001] 2 S.C.R. 207, 2001 SCC 39, at pp. 227-29.)

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