A win for employers: Supreme Court rejects union’s effort to obtain right of consultation in accommodation process

November 12, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by John Craig and Matthew Larsen

Do unions have an independent legal right, separate and apart from their collective agreement rights, to be involved in every unionized employee’s accommodation request? This question was answered earlier this year by the British Columbia Court of Appeal, which ruled that unions have no such right.

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No more human rights forum shopping?

August 25, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Lindsey Taylor

A few weeks ago, we reported on the recent decision in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc., which confirmed that unionized employees aren’t able to bring employment claims to court. Rather, these claims must be brought within the framework of the special legal relationship between the union and the employer, either by way of a grievance or a complaint to the respective Labour Relations Board if there are grounds to do so.

But what about human rights issues – where should a unionized employee address those? And can a unionized employee pursue claims in both arbitration and human rights forums? A recent case from the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, Mahdi v. Hertz Canada, says “no.” read more…

Court refuses to referee fight regarding plant-closure agreement

July 28, 2013 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Rodrigue

Unionized employees in Canada can’t bring employment claims to court. This is so even where there is no longer any collective agreement in place. So ruled an Ontario court recently in Baker v. Navistar Canada Inc. read more…

Supreme Court rejects random alcohol testing policy in dangerous workplace

June 30, 2013 1 COMMENTS

By Kyla Stott-Jess, Katie Clayton, and Hannah Roskey

Canada’s highest court has ruled that random drug and alcohol testing in the workplace violates privacy rights. In Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, Local 30 v. Irving Pulp & Paper Ltd., the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) considered the validity of a random alcohol testing policy in a unionized workplace. In a 6-3 decision, the SCC agreed with the original arbitration board decision to strike down the employer’s mandatory drug and alcohol testing policy. read more…

Lessons learned from NHL lockout

January 06, 2013 2 COMMENTS

By Brian P. Smeenk

Canadians love hockey like Americans love football or baseball. Maybe more. So the lockout of the players by the league’s owners has left a lot of Canadian hockey fans in withdrawal. It’s also led to much more reporting about labor negotiations than we would normally see in the media. read more…

Blowing Holes in Collective Agreements

October 04, 2010 0 COMMENTS

by Emilie Paquin-Holmested and Dominique Monet

The Supreme Court of Canada, in Québec (Procureur général) c. Syndicat de la fonction publique, recently struck down a clause in a collective agreement. The clause in question prevented certain employees from challenging discipline through grievance arbitration. The Court declared the clause void because it contravened a statutory minimum standard.

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Wal-Mart Allowed to Close Unionized Store: Supreme Court of Canada

December 14, 2009 0 COMMENTS

By Marc Ouellet and Louise Béchamp

On November 27, 2009, in two cases involving Wal-Mart (Plourde v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp. and Desbiens v. Wal-Mart Canada Corp.), the Supreme Court of Canada rendered its much-awaited decision on an employer’s right to close operations for alleged antiunion reasons.

The Supreme Court decisions rule that Wal-Mart could close one of its stores following the unionization of its employees. Essentially, the court confirmed the principle by which an employer can overturn the presumption against it, established by section 17 of the Quebec Labour Code, by simply showing that the decision to close is “real and definitive.” This is possible even though the reasons behind the closing could be viewed as “socially reprehensible.”

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Attendance Management Programs and Human Rights

May 05, 2009 0 COMMENTS

Managing absenteeism can be a significant challenge for Canadian employers. A wide variety of factual situations may be complicated by employment standards, privacy and human rights laws, as well as any applicable union agreements.

An example of the potential challenges of implementing an attendance management program (AMP) is the decade-long battle between Coast Mountain Bus Company Ltd. (CMBC) and the Canadian Auto Workers. It involved an AMP covering transit operators in the Greater Vancouver region of British Columbia.

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For First Time, 22,000 Mounties Can Begin Organizing in 2010

April 21, 2009 0 COMMENTS

By Sara Parchello

The face of unionization in Canada is changing. Although it’s declining in the private sector, it’s increasing in the public sector. A few recent decisions by Canadian courts show this trend.

The most recent is a decision involving the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (commonly known as the “Mounties”). On April 6, 2009, the Ontario Superior Court gave the Mounties the right to unionize.

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Be Careful Taking Cost-Saving Measures in Union Workplace

March 24, 2009 0 COMMENTS

By Karen Sargeant

In the last several months, we have posted several blog entries detailing how employers can reduce employment costs and/or increase workforce flexibility in these tough economic times. We have talked about furloughs, work-sharing programs, changing employment contracts, adjusting the size of the workforce and reducing employees’ hours of work.

But all of these discussions have been in the context of nonunion workplaces. What about a unionized workplace – do employers have the same flexibility to reduce hours, shorten the workweek, impose work-sharing programs or set up other cost-saving measures? The answer depends.

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