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LABOUR RELATIONS BOARDS - Jurisdiction - Exclusive

Thursday, July 06, 2017 @ 8:08 AM  

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Motion by the Union defendants for dismissal or a stay of the action by the plaintiffs on jurisdictional grounds. The plaintiffs were creditors of Southern Ontario Concrete Forming Ltd. (SOCF), a joint venture corporation controlled by the plaintiffs and Alliance Forming Ltd. (Alliance). SOCF was bankrupt. The plaintiffs obtained an order assigning its claim against the defendants in their favour. The plaintiffs sought damages for the torts of conspiracy to injure, unlawful interference with economic relations and inducing breach of contract. The defendants submitted that the plaintiffs' claim, at its essence, alleged an improper conspiracy to use the grievance procedure to coerce SOCF to sign a collective agreement, thereby constituting an unfair labour practice. The defendants sought a stay or dismissal of the plaintiffs' action on the basis it was within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

HELD: Motion allowed. The essential character of the parties' dispute was a labour relations dispute governed by the provisions of the provincial collective agreement or the provisions of the Labour Relations Act as opposed to a tort claim. The overarching aspect of the plaintiffs' claim was the filing and non-prosecution of a bogus grievance to secure an improper labour relations objective, namely the signing of a collective agreement that would permit the Union to remain the bargaining agent for SOCF. That conduct, if proven, would constitute an unfair labour practice, giving rise to remedies under the Labour Relations Act. The claim fell within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Labour Relations Board. The action was stayed indefinitely.

FCI Concrete Forming Inc. v. Buttcon Ltd., [2017] O.J. No. 2813, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, R.M. Raikes J., May 29, 2017. Digest No. TLD-July32017007