Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

March 29, 2005 12:55 ET

PIPSC Wins Awesome Victory for Union Activists


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: PROFESSIONAL INSTITUTE OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE OF CANADA

MARCH 29, 2005 - 12:55 ET

PIPSC Wins Awesome Victory for Union Activists

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - March 29, 2005) - May a union activist's
career advancement be affected by personal involvement in union affairs?
Even though the Public Service Staff Relations Act (PSSRA) and the
collective agreements offer union members rock-solid legal protection,
for many of them this concern dampens any desire for union activism and
keeps their union commitments very low key.

In this context, the victory recently won by a member of the
Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC)
constitutes a huge step forward in support of union activism. The member
had claimed that his employer, the Canada Revenue Agency at Sherbrooke,
had refused to consider his candidacy for a promotion because of his
union activism. When his case was heard in the fall of 2004, the
adjudicator of the Public Service Staff Relations Board did not permit
the member's lawyer to question the manager of the Quebec office, about
past events with a view to possibly proving the existence of an
anti-union animus. The PSSRB adjudicator, Sylvie Matteau, wrote in her
dismissal of the complaint that such evidence was irrelevant.

In a unanimous decision delivered March 8 by the Federal Court of
Appeal, Justice Nadon cut to the quick of the matter with a
well-sharpened knife that left no hint of ambiguity regarding the
relevance of this sort of evidence when hearing a complaint of this
kind. The denial of natural justice was so evident that the decision was
delivered from the bench in these terms: (Translation) "Contrary to the
PSSRB, which found that this kind of evidence would be irrelevant, we
are all of the opinion that this evidence is, without any question,
highly relevant, if not critical to the question that the PSSRB was to
answer, namely an anti-union animus toward the applicant. Under the
circumstances, the PSSRB's refusal to consider this evidence constitutes
a denial of natural justice."

The application for judicial review was therefore granted with costs and
the PSSRB decision was cancelled. The complaint is also returned to the
PSSRB for a new hearing before an otherwise constituted tribunal.

"We often feel we are reliving the story of David and Goliath in our
work as union representatives fighting for our members at PIPSC. The
employer has the size, the means and the tools that we must bravely
face. So hitting the target with our sling reassures us when it comes to
upholding the principles enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and
Freedoms," said PIPSC President, Michele Demers.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada is a national
union representing 50,000 scientific and professional public service
employees across Canada.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Francine Pressault
    Media and Government Relations Officer
    (613) 228-6310, ext. 2228 or 1-800-267-0446
    or
    Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Pierrette Gosselin
    Regional Representative, Montreal Office
    (514) 288-3545 or 1-800-363-0622