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There is also a proposal to simplify how unions can be formed or disbanded. Labour Minister Christina Gray said the changes, hammered out with the help of the former head of the Alberta Labour Relations Board, would modernize laws and bring them in line with most other provinces. “Our government could not allow legislation that touches the lives of so many to be disregarded any longer,” Gray said. “This legislation would bring Alberta’s workplaces into the 21st century.” People working for an employer for 90 days would be allowed to take unpaid leave if they were sick, injured, had a death in the family, a missing child or were the victims of domestic violence. Right now, there are no provisions for leave in those cases. Overtime would be banked at 1.5 hours for every hour worked instead of straight time. Minimum annual vacation would be two weeks off paid at four per cent of an employee’s salary. Employers would also be prevented from charging gas station and restaurant workers if customers left without paying. The changes would allow for a union to be certified without a secret ballot if more than 65 per cent of employees had verified membership cards.

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