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LABOUR RELATIONS BOARDS - Jurisdiction - Exclusive

Wednesday, September 30, 2020 @ 6:04 AM  

Appeal by the petitioners from an order striking out part of their pleadings. The appellants applied for judicial review of a decision of the Minister of Transportation that required anyone who wished to work on a provincial construction project to be, or become, a member of one of the Building Trades Unions. The chambers judge allowed the appellants’ claims that asserted the Minister was improperly influenced by the fact the Unions were material contributors to the New Democratic Party of British Columbia. The chambers judge struck the appellants’ claims that invoked workers’ Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter) rights, finding they were within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Labour Relations Board.

HELD: Appeal allowed in part. Labour relations issues lay at the heart of the appellants’ Charter challenges. The essence of that part of the parties’ dispute was the application of the Charter to labour relations arising in the context of a collective agreement that required all workers on the project to belong to one of the Unions and to pay dues to it. An attack on the constitutionality of the policy decision per se was unlikely to result in a meaningful remedy for the appellants without a challenge to the agreement. As found by the chambers judge, the prerogative remedies sought by the appellants were beyond the Labour Relation Board’s jurisdiction and were appropriate for judicial review. The claim for declaratory relief, that the imposition of the requirement was an unreasonable exercise of the Minister’s statutory discretion because it was irrelevant to the statutory purpose underlying the statutory power, was within the jurisdiction of the court and should not have been struck. The chambers judge did not err in finding the Minister’s decision was not an exercise of a statutory power for the purposes of the Judicial Review Procedure Act.

Independent Contractors and Business Association v. British Columbia (Transportation and Infrastructure), [2020] B.C.J. No. 1340, British Columbia Court of Appeal, M.V. Newbury, P.M. Willcock and G.B. Butler JJ.A., August 28, 2020. Digest No. TLD-September282020005