Court of Appeal of Quebec

Syndicat des professionnelles et professionnels du gouvernement du Québec c. Procureure générale du Québec

December 17, 2018

200-09-009525-178

Morissette, Gagnon, Gagné

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court dismissing an application for judicial review of a decision by the Administrative Labour Tribunal (the “Tribunal”). Dismissed.

The appellant union is certified to represent 17,000 professionals in one bargaining unit and divided among various ministries and public bodies. The Tribunal decided that a strike involving 151 employees from one single ministry was illegal under the provisions of the Labour Code (L.C.) The Superior Court held that the Tribunal’s decision was reasonable and refused to intervene. 

The legality of a targeted strike is an issue central to the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and expertise. The trial judge correctly applied the reasonableness standard of review. 

The Tribunal’s decision is based on the wording of the certification, the notion of “establishment”, and the interpretation of s. 109.1 L.C. by the doctrine and case law, a provision whose constitutionality has not been disputed. The union alleges that the Tribunal analyzed the legality of the targeted strike based solely on the provisions of the Labour Code and failed to consider the effect of the constitutionally protected right to strike since Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan (S.C. Can., 2015-01-30), 2015 SCC 4, SOQUIJ AZ-51145293, 2015EXP-365, 2015EXPT-224, J.E. 2015-186, D.T.E. 2015T-88, [2015] 1 S.C.R. 245. That argument is rejected. The Tribunal acknowledged the substantive change represented by the constitutional recognition of the right to strike. It correctly noted, however, that a certified association cannot trigger a strike without complying with the terms in the Labour Code. Section 109.1 L.C. constitutes one of the components of that statutory framework. Paragraphs (c) and (d) of that provision clearly have the effect of proscribing the employer’s utilization, in its establishments, of employees who are members of the bargaining unit then on strike. Under these paragraphs, every employee in the same bargaining unit must respect the work stoppage voted by a majority of employees in that unit. The words used by the legislature in the provision at issue clearly express a firm intention to prohibit a partial or sectoral targeted strike that contributes to unnecessarily prolonging labour conflicts. The Tribunal’s decision is the result of a transparent, reasoned and intelligible analysis. The Superior Court’s decision not to intervene was founded. 

Section interpreted: 109.1 L.C.

*Summary by SOQUIJ
Text of the decision: Http://citoyens.soquij.qc.ca. This link open an external website in a new window.

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