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LABOUR RELATIONS BOARDS - Jurisdiction

Tuesday, November 05, 2019 @ 6:24 AM  


Application by the employer for judicial review of a decision of the Canada Industrial Relations Board granting the application for certification of the respondent with respect to the applicant’s technical field and warehouse employees. The applicant was a telecommunications network infrastructure service provider. It opposed the certification application, claiming that the labour relations at issue were subject to provincial regulation rather than federal regulation under the Code, and that the Board therefore did not have jurisdiction to entertain the application. The Board found it had constitutional authority to deal with the matter. While it recognized that most labour relations in Canada were subject to provincial jurisdiction, it noted that the types of operations expressly enumerated in s. 2 of the Canada Labour Code were subject to federal jurisdiction. Applying the functional approach, the Board held that the daily operations and normal activities of the applicant went well beyond those of a local work or undertaking as they involved supplying a telecommunications system, connecting residential and non-residential customers to the telecommunication system and building and maintaining that system.

HELD: Application dismissed. The Board was correct in holding that it had the required constitutional jurisdiction to consider the application for certification. While direct federal jurisdiction was excluded in the present case, the applicant’s essential, ongoing operations were vital, essential or integral to a federal undertaking or an integral element of the federal jurisdiction over telecommunications. The Board’s finding that the applicant’s daily operations and normal activities went well beyond those of a local work or undertaking was amply supported by the applicant’s own evidence. The applicant’s activities went far beyond the mere construction of a network. Its involvement with telecommunications networks appears to be the predominant part of its work, and this was neither an exceptional nor a casual factor. The evidence was very specific as to what, if anything, was built or repaired by the applicant, and it all related to telecommunications networks. The evidence showed that the services provided to the federal undertaking constituted the exclusive or principal part of the applicant’s activities. The applicant provided no evidence, nor made any submissions denying the importance of the work done by its employees for the companies of federal jurisdiction with which it did business.

Telecon Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union No. 213, [2019] F.C.J. No. 1118, Federal Court of Appeal, W.W. Webb, D.G. Near and Y. de Montigny JJ.A., October 2, 2019. Digest No. TLD-November42019006