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LABOUR RELATIONS BOARDS - Orders - Appeals and judicial review

Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 10:36 AM  

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Appeal by the City of Saskatoon from a decision allowing the Amalgamated Transit Union’s judicial review application in relation to its unsuccessful unfair labour practice application to the Labour Relations Board (Board). In 2014, the City locked out unionized transit workers. The Union convinced the Board that the lockout notice and lockout itself were illegal because there was an unfair labour practice application, known as the “Mongovius ULP”, pending before the Board. The Board ordered the City to pay damages to the Union’s members in respect of monetary losses caused by the lockout up to the date when the Mongovius ULP was decided, October 3, 2014. The lockout continued for two weeks after the Mongovius ULP decision was released. The Union subsequently made another unfair labour practice application, claiming that the City had never served a valid lockout notice. The Union’s application was unsuccessful. The Board concluded that the Union was improperly attempting to collaterally attack its original decision in order to obtain additional damages for members to the end of the lockout. On judicial review, the Chambers judge found that the Union had been denied a chance to put its case forward on the question of damages that might be payable to members after the date of the Mongovius ULP ruling. The Board’s decision was quashed and the Union’s application was remitted to the Board to be reheard, with a direction for the Board to determine what, if any, compensation Union members should receive in relation to the lockout during the period after October 3, 2014. On appeal, the City submitted the judge applied the wrong standard of review, misinterpreted the Board's decision and erred in finding the Union had not had a proper opportunity to make its case.

HELD: Appeal allowed. The Chambers judge properly applied the correctness standard of review. However, the Chambers judge misunderstood the Board's original decision on the damages issue and was thereby led into error. The Union did in fact attempt to collaterally attack the Board’s original decision in the lockout application. The record showed that during the proceedings for the lockout application, counsel for the Union confirmed before the Board that the Union only was seeking damages until October 3, 2014. The Union’s argument that the question of whether damages would be payable for any period after that date was to be determined in a new proceeding was rejected. The wording of the Board's Order was wholly consistent with the notion that damages were payable until October 3, 2014, and not thereafter. The question of compensation for the lockout had been fully and finally resolved in the lockout application decision and the Board had not violated the audi alteram partem principle in deciding to dismiss the damages application on the basis that it was an impermissible collateral attack on the earlier lockout application decision. Nonetheless, the Board did deny the Union its right to be heard on the question of whether the lockout application decision should be reconsidered. This was because the Board raised that issue on its own initiative and resolved it against the Union without hearing from the Union. Accordingly, although the Board's decision to dismiss the damages application was upheld, the Union was entitled to bring an application to have the lockout application decision reconsidered if it so desired.

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 615 v. Saskatoon (City), [2017] S.J. No. 500, Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, R.G. Richards C.J.S., M.J. Herauf J.A. and Y.G.K. Wilkinson J. (ad hoc), November 6, 2017. Digest No. TLD-December112017001