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Labour

. Rukavina v. Ottawa (Police Services Board)

In Rukavina v. Ottawa (Police Services Board) (Ont CA, 2020) the Court of Appeal considered when a malicious prosecution lawsuit by a police officer against other police officers and the police board, was governed the collective agreement (as in Weber) or could proceed as a lawsuit. The court found that the action could proceed, as the appropriate issue was what the "essential nature" of the facts were [paras 30-66]:
[52] The facts relating to Mr. Rukavina are notably different. Mr. Rukavina is not alleging that he was unfairly disciplined by his employer. Rather, he is alleging that he was wrongfully charged with criminal offences after his fellow officers lied to the SIU and that his superior officers acted in a manner that continued to mislead the SIU. The allegations do not pertain to discipline. At their highest, these are allegations of criminal activity, knowingly and intentionally misleading a criminal investigation.
. Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario v. York Region District School Board

In Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario v. York Region District School Board (Div Ct, 2020) the Divisional Court commented on a difference between courts and labour arbitrators on the issue of binding precedent:
[86] In any event, it is well established that Arbitrators are not bound by any prior arbitration awards (Isabelle v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, 1981 CanLII 44 (SCC), [1981] 1 S.C.R. 449, at p. 457; Weber v. Ontario Hydro, 1995 CanLII 108 (SCC), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 929). This was noted by Iacobucci J. in Weber, at para. 14:
The first significant difference between courts and tribunals relates to the difference in the manner in which decisions are rendered by each type of adjudicating body. Courts must decide cases according to the law and are bound by stare decisis. By contrast, tribunals are not so constrained. When acting within their jurisdiction, they may solve the conflict before them in the way judged to be most appropriate. In labour arbitration, the Arbitrator is not bound to follow the decisions of other Arbitrators, even when similar circumstances arise.
[87] Furthermore, the Supreme Court in Nor-Man Regional Health Authority Inc. v. Manitoba Association of Health Care Professionals, 2011 SCC 59, [2011] 3 S.C.R. 616, at paras. 5-6, has recognized that labour arbitrators have considerable latitude to develop or modify doctrines appropriate in their field:
Labour arbitrators are not legally bound to apply equitable and common law principles . . . in the same manner as courts of law. Theirs is a different mission, informed by the particular context of labour relations.

To assist them in the pursuit of that mission, arbitrators are given a broad mandate in adapting the legal principles they find relevant to the grievances of which they are seized. They must, of course, exercise that mandate reasonably, in a manner that is consistent with the objectives and purposes of the statutory scheme, the principles of labour relations, the nature of the collective bargaining process, and the factual matrix of the grievance.
. The Society of United Professionals v. New Horizon System Solutions

In The Society of United Professionals v. New Horizon System Solutions (Ont CA, 2020) the Divisional Court stated the leading doctrine on interference with a union's representation of employees in the bargaining unit [s.70 of the Ontario Labour Relations Act]:
[24] Section 70 of the Act provides:
No employer or employers’ organization and no person acting on behalf of an employer or an employers’ organization shall participate in or interfere with the formation, selection or administration of a trade union or the representation of employees by a trade union or contribute financial or other support to a trade union, but nothing in this section shall be deemed to deprive an employer of the employer’s freedom to express views so long as the employer does not use coercion, intimidation, threats, promises or undue influence. (emphasis added)
[25] Both parties had agreed at the hearing before the Board that the leading cases on the interpretation and application of s. 70 are Hotel & Restaurant Employee CAW Local 448 v. The Millcroft Inn Ltd., 2000 CanLII 12208 (Ont. L.R.B.) and Bernard v. Canada (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 13. In both these cases, the issue was whether s. 70 or a similar provision requires that a trade union be provided with contact information, such as home addresses and phone numbers, for the members of the bargaining unit it represents.

[26] In Millcroft, the Board set out the test for applying s. 70 (at para. 16):
A violation of section 70 of the Act does not require an anti-union animus. If the result of certain conduct is interference in the union’s capacity to represent its members, that can be sufficient to constitute a breach of the provision. The conduct may be lawful and bona fide; it may be free of any anti-union taint, yet if its effect is to harm the union’s capacity to represent its members, it may be a violation. It will be a violation if there is no business rationale for the interference.
In Bernard, the Supreme Court of Canada quoted the Millcroft decision with approval. In each of these cases, it was held that access to the employee contact information was necessary for the union to carry out its representative obligations.


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