UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

December 15, 2006 15:28 ET

Appeal court upholds arbitration decision on OHIP premiums

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a landmark 2004 arbitration decision stemming from a UFCW Canada grievance filed on behalf of workers at the Lapointe-Fisher Nursing Home in Guelph, Ontario.

Attention: Assignment Editor, Business/Financial Editor, City Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 15, 2006) -

The Ontario Court of Appeal has upheld a landmark 2004 arbitration decision stemming from a UFCW Canada grievance filed on behalf of Local 175 members working at the Lapointe-Fisher Nursing Home in Guelph, Ontario.

"It's a victory for our members," said Wayne Hanley, the National Director of UFCW Canada and President of UFCW Canada Local 175.

"It's evidence that one of the best ways to protect workers is through strong collective agreements built on foresight and well-considered contract language."

The Court of Appeal struck down Lapointe-Fisher's argument that an arbitrator erred in 2004 ordering the company to continue to pay for its workers' health care premiums. The arbitrator had agreed with a UFCW Canada Local 175 grievance filed in July 2004 that the employer could not escape its obligations under the collective agreement to pay workers' Ontario health care premiums just because the province changed the law in 2004 by dropping a health payroll tax on employers and reintroducing a direct health care tax on Ontario residents instead.

Such a system had existed prior to 1990 but so did Local 175 contract language that compelled Lapointe-Fisher to pick up that premium. While Ontario dropped direct premiums in 1990 and switched to a payroll tax, the language regarding premiums remained in later collective agreements negotiated by the union.

UFCW Canada had argued the new 2004 tax was essentially a health care premium and that the collective agreement continued to contain specific language that required Lapointe-Fisher to pay for its workers' OHIP premiums. The arbitrator agreed and her decision was later upheld by the Ontario Divisional Court.

Lapointe-Fisher then appealed the divisional court decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal which on December 8, 2006 reaffirmed the arbitrator's decision.

"Governments come and go," said Hanley, "and regulations change so we made sure the protection against health care premiums would stay in place in case the day came when they would be needed again."

"Protecting our members means always being on guard. We were then and we are now."
IN: ECONOMY, JUSTICE, LABOUR, RETAIL, TRADE

Contact Information

  • Michael Forman, National Media Relations Coordinator, UFCW CANADA
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 249
    Secondary Phone: 416-579-8330
    E-mail: mforman@ufcw.ca