Labour Law

The Supreme Court of Canada rejected attempts by a construction trade union to shield itself from a wrongful dismissal suit by relying on the Rights of Labour Act after the expiry of a limitation period. The Court was critical of the union’s attempt to tactically avoid litigating the employee’s claim on its merits, and held that the naming of the union in the original statement of claim was a misnomer.

In unusual move, the Court dismissed the union’s appeal from the bench.

Tim Gleason, Sean Dewart and Adrienne Lei represented the respondent employee.

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the requirement that a bargaining agent must have access to contact information of all members of the bargaining unit. The appellant had objected on the basis of her right under s. 2(d) of the Charter to be free from compelled association. The Court held that such a right did not extend to a right to complete isolation, and in any event, the compelled disclosure of home contact information in order to allow a union to carry out its representational obligations does not engage the freedom not to associate with the union.

Tim Gleason and Sean Dewart represented the intervenor, Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Adrienne Lei successfully argued for an award of general damages for mental distress, as well as lost income, arising from an employer’s breach of a settlement agreement with the grievor.

An arbitrator ruled that the Toronto District School Board’s mandatory retirement policy violated employees’ rights under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Tim Gleason represented the Union.

General Motors of Canada Limited v. Canadian Auto Workers Union, Local 222, 2008 CanLII 28750 the Court found that General Motors Corporation had engaged in deceit-like behaviour in its bargaining with CAW when it planned to close a truck plant in Oshawa, ON.

In York University v. York University Staff Assn. (King Grievance) (2008), 173 L.A.C. (4th) 251 an arbitrator determined that the Labour Relations Act, 1995 prohibited discrimination that would be contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

When Sun Media moved pre-press work from the Toronto Sun to its non-union operation in Woodstock, Ontario, an arbitrator found that it violated Article 402 of its collective agreement with SONG, which provided that the employer would not assign work of the bargaining unit to its employees outside of the bargaining unit, if such assignment caused a layoff.

The Toronto Sun laid off all of its adbuilders in 2009 and gave their work to non-union employees of Sun Media. These employees, which had been thrown out of work after years of service, now stand to reap significant remedies.

Tim Gleason represented the Union.