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LABOUR RELATIONS - Civil actions - When available - Employees - Public service

Thursday, March 25, 2021 @ 6:26 AM  

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Appeal by the Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces from the dismissal of its motion to dismiss the respondent’s action for want of jurisdiction. The respondent was a non-unionized, 18-year employee of the appellant, a federal public service entity and separate agency. The respondent’s last position was arena and outdoor facility manager. He quit his job in 2017. In 2018, the respondent commenced a civil action against the appellant claiming he was constructively dismissed. He alleged he was the object of bullying and intimidation by his supervisor for several years, his position was downgraded and some of his responsibilities were removed. The motion judge found s. 236 of the Federal Public Sector Labour Relations Act did not preclude the respondent’s action against the appellant for constructive dismissal.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. From the context and its language, “termination of employment” in s. 236(3) of the Act was to be given a broad meaning and excluded only terminations that were based on breach of discipline or misconduct. The respondent’s claim was patently a pleading of constructive dismissal. “Termination of employment for any reason” in s. 236 included the termination of employment by way of constructive dismissal. The interpretation of the words surrounding “termination” in s. 236(3) supported the conclusion that the section was meant to capture constructive dismissal.

Pearce v. Canada (Staff of the Non-Public Funds, Canadian Forces), [2021] O.J. No. 441, Ontario Court of Appeal, G.R. Strathy C.J.O., P.S. Rouleau and S.A. Coroza JJ.A., February 3, 2021. Digest No. TLD-March222021008