Fall 2014 - LBST 330 D100

Selected Topics in Labour Studies (3)

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 2 – Dec 1, 2014: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2014
    Sun, 3:30–6:30 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    Strongly recommended: LBST 101 and/or 301.



The study of issues related to work and/or trade unions not offered in regular courses. Students who have completed special temporary topics course LBST 389 cannot complete this course for further credit when it is offered as "Studying Labour Through Film."


This course will offer students an introduction to Canadian labour and employment law. It will cover the law applicable to both the union and non-union sectors.   With respect to the union sector, the seminar and readings will primarily cover the British Columbia Labour Relations Code, which regulates approximately 90% of the union employers and employees in the province.  However reference will also be made to the Canada Labour Code which regulates the remaining 10%.   With respect to the non-union sector – the almost 70% of British Columbia employees and their employers not covered by a collective agreement, their relationship is regulated primarily by principles from the common law – that is, largely court made law.  

The course will also deal extensively with two vitally important statutes applicable to both the union and non-union sectors - the B.C. Employment Standards Act and the B.C. Human Rights Code.  

Despite the commonly held view that British Columbia ranks along with Québec as one of the 2 most heavily unionized provinces in the country, in fact it ranks 6 of the 10 at 31.3%.  

The course time and material will roughly reflect the relative importance of these two legal regimes - union/non-union - in the province’s economic and political life.  It will provide a brief history of labour and employment law in Canada and in British Columbia.  It will also provide a basis for critically analyzing the law – which is often described as one of the most overtly politically-influenced branches of the law.  

Examples of the specific topics we will deal with include, for the union sector: organizing a union, unfair labour practices by employers and by unions, mediation/arbitration, bargaining in good faith, and strikes/lockouts.  

For the nonunion sector, we will deal with: who is an employee as opposed to self-employed, an agent, partner, or officeholder; the employee’s obligations to her/his employer; who is an employer; successor employers; the employer’s obligations to the employee; privacy issues in the employment relationship; and employee testing for drugs and alcohol.   

While it’s important to bear in mind the different legal regimes – union/nonunion – they are not watertight compartments.  Students will find that significant developments in one regime may very quickly acquire similar significance in the other regime and vice versa.


  1. Students will become familiar with all aspects of Canadian and British Columbia labour and employment law.  They will be able to access the many online resources available without charge, including the applicable statutes as well as the decided cases, in both legal regimes.  They will be able to research specific issues and identify the relevant statutes and case law to enable them to answer questions that may arise in their own work life or in their professional life; or enable them to advise others on those issues.  
  2. Students will also be able to critically analyze the importance and effect of legislation, as well as decided cases from the Employment Standards Branch, the Courts, labour arbitrators, and the Labour Relations Board.


  • Assignment Short Paper or Take Home Test 15%
  • Assignment Problem Solving/Fact Situations 20%
  • Research Paper 30%
  • In Class Quiz 20%
  • Participation in class discussion 15%


All assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade to be assigned.  The Morgan Centre for Labour Studies follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic honesty and misconducted procedures (S10.01-S10.04).  It is the responsibility of the students to inform themselves of the content of these policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html


Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.



There is no required text.  A book of readings and cases will be available at the Burnaby Campus Bookstore.  Additional readings will be made available over the course of this semester.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html