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UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES - By employer - Violation of freeze period 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 @ 10:34 AM  


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Application by the employer for judicial review of a decision of the Canada Industrial Relations Board granting the union a declaration that the employer violated the freeze provisions of the Canada Labour Code. The Board held that the employer did so by implementing a schedule and a wage structure for newly hired pilots that were less favourable than those of pilots employed by the employer at the time the union applied for certification. The employer provided a ferry service by helicopter to offshore oil operations. The first pilots it employed were entitled to a day off for every day worked and received a higher rate of pay for overtime. After it successfully bid on a new contract, it hired temporary pilots that were entitled less time off and no increase in pay for overtime. The Board found that there was no evidence that the employer consulted or advised the union or any existing pilots of its decision to hire new pilots at a different wage structure and work schedule. It was only after the pilots opted to unionize that the employer decided to incorporate for newly hired pilots a different work schedule with a different overtime rate for extra work.

HELD: Application dismissed. The Board’s factual findings led directly to the conclusion that the change in terms and conditions of employment went beyond business as before. On the record before the Board, it was not an unreasonable conclusion. On the evidence before it, the Board chose not to draw inferences in the absence of direct evidence of these matters, and it was not wrong in failing to do so.

Canadian Helicopters Ltd. (c.o.b. Canadian Helicopters Offshore) (Re), [2020] F.C.J. No. 169, Federal Court of Appeal, W.W. Webb, D.G. Near and J.B. Laskin JJ.A., February 5, 2020. Digest No. TLD-March162020006