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LABOUR RELATIONS BOARDS - Procedure - Protection of identity

Monday, November 04, 2019 @ 9:02 AM  


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Application by the Attorney General for judicial review of a decision of the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board. The respondent was a manager at Canada Revenue Agency. He received a 30-day suspension for inappropriate acts involving several younger female subordinate employees. The employer promised employees their names would be protected if they testified at the respondent’s grievance. The Board dismissed the respondent’s grievance, finding the respondent engaged in appropriate acts with his female subordinates. The Board refused to refer to non-managerial CRA employees who testified against the respondent by their initials in the public version of its decision. The redaction issue was remitted back to the Board after the Attorney General’s successful judicial review application.

HELD: Application allowed. The Board failed to follow the court’s direction to weigh afresh the privacy interests of the individuals in question against any possible need to publish their names. The Board further failed to reasonably balance the relevant interests in accordance with the binding jurisprudence, focusing instead on assurances that were provided to witnesses testifying on behalf of the employer. The Board’s minimization of the witnesses’ privacy interests was unreasonable. It gave no consideration to the broader public interest with respect to the privacy rights at issue in the proceeding. The decision was unreasonable. Remitting the matter to the Board would undermine confidence in the administration of justice. It was appropriate to make the order that the Board should have made. The names of non-managerial Canada Revenue Agency employees were to be redacted from the public version of the Board’s decision.

Canada (Attorney General) v. Philps, [2019] F.C.J. No. 1116, Federal Court of Appeal, M. Nadon, E.R. Dawson and A.L. Mactavish JJ.A., September 30, 2019. Digest No. TLD-November42019001