Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

April 23, 2007 17:02 ET

Minister Blackburn Names Andrew C.L. Sims, Q.C., as the Arbitrator in the Canadian National Railways and United Transportation Union Dispute

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - April 23, 2007) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today named Andrew C.L. Sims, Q.C., as the Arbitrator in the Canadian National (CN) Railways and the United Transportation Union (UTU) labour dispute.

"Mr. Sims' experience as a labour arbitrator and mediator with the Alberta Labour Relations Board and as part-time Vice Chair of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, as well as his balanced approach to the review of Part I of the Canada Labour Code, all make him an excellent choice for this role," said Minister Blackburn. "I encourage both parties to approach the next 90 days as an opportunity to negotiate and develop reasonable, long-term solutions to the labour dispute."

Mr. Sims now has 90 days to review the best final offers from both parties. Mr. Sims will then select one of those offers. This will form the collective agreement. Minister Blackburn stressed that, according to the back-to-work legislation, the naming of an Arbitrator does not prevent the two parties from returning to the negotiating table before the 90-day process expires to reach a settlement on their own.

Minister Blackburn also took the opportunity to applaud the employees who returned to work during the ratification process of the initial tentative agreement to keep freight moving across the country and to export markets, as well as GoTrain and Montreal urban commuter trains running.

Mr. Sims' appointment will be effective at midnight April 23, 2007.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Andrew C. L. Sims, Q.C.

Andy Sims is an experienced labour arbitrator and mediator based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He has practiced law since 1974, following his graduation from the University of Alberta. He was designated Queen's Counsel in 1990.

Currently, Mr. Sims serves as a part-time Vice Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board as well as a part time Vice Chair of the Canadian Industrial Relations Board. In addition, he maintains an active private practice as an arbitrator and mediator. He provides administrative law counsel to a variety of administrative boards and tribunals and has appeared regularly before the Alberta Courts as well as the Supreme Court of Canada in that capacity.

Between 1985 and 1994 Mr. Sims served as the full-time Chair of the Alberta Labour Relations Board, and in 1992 took on added responsibilities as Chair of the Alberta Public Service Employee Relations Board. In 1995 he was appointed to chair a Task Force to review Part 1 (Labour Relations) of the Canada Labour Code, culminating in the report "Seeking a Balance" published in 1995 and amendments to the Canada Labour Code enacted in 1998. He was a member of the 1997 Advisory Committee on the Changing Workplace, under the Chairmanship of the Federal Minister of Labour.

In 1994 he delivered the H.D. Woods Memorial Lecture to the Canadian Industrial Relations Society. He conducted the 1994 review of the Appeals Commission under Alberta's Workers' Compensation Act. He served as a member and Vice Chair of the Alberta Law Reform Institute (9 years) and a Sessional Instructor at the University of Alberta Law School (14 years). He has served as a Board Member of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice and the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals.

During his career he has authored over 100 reported decisions in the Canadian Labour Relations Board Reports and the Labour Arbitration Cases. He is a standing arbitrator under many collective agreements in Western Canada and speaks frequently on labour relations and administrative law topics. His consulting practice, the Sims Group, provides training and management advice to a wide range of judicial and quasijudicial decision makers.

Mr. Sims holds the ADR Institute of Canada Chartered Arbitrator designation. He was admitted to membership in the National Academy of Arbitrators in 2002.

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