Court of Appeal of Quebec

Autobus Transco (1988) inc. c. Syndicat de Autobus Terremont ltée (CSN)


Morissette, Moore, Lavallée

Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court dismissing an application for judicial review of a judgment rendered by the Commission des relations du travail (CRT). Dismissed.

The employer operates a Quebec school transportation company that provides chartered trips on its school buses to Ontario. In a proceeding under section 45 of the Labour Code (CQLR, c. C-27), the CRT found that the company’s labour relations did not fall within federal jurisdiction. The Superior Court upheld that judgment.

The CRT and the trial judge did not have the right to be wrong about the test applicable to the constitutional characterization of the employer. However, when they apply this test on the basis of an analysis rooted in the facts, their findings of fact merit deference. The test used in the case law to establish direct constitutional jurisdiction over a transportation business is that of the regularity and continuity of the extraprovincial transportation operations. To evaluate whether the service is continuous and regular, the analysis performed must be qualitative rather than quantitative. The proportion (or percentage) of the interprovincial operations is not a determinative factor in the analysis. Jurisdiction will be federal if Transco’s charter transportation operations are regular and continuous, and provincial if the opposite is true. The Court must show deference to CRT’s findings of fact, which the trial judge adopted as his own. On the basis of the facts reasonably found by the CRT, it was correct in concluding that the employer’s extraprovincial transportation was neither regular nor continuous. To circumvent the general rule whereby transportation companies are subject to provincial constitutional jurisdiction, the employer tried to establish that its interprovincial travel was regular and continuous. It did not discharge its burden in this respect.

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