Bisaillon v. Concordia University, (2006) 348 N.R. 201 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Abella and Charron, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 18, 2006
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2006), 348 N.R. 201 (SCC);2006 SCC 19;DTE 2006T-508;EYB 2006-105515;[2006] 1 SCR 666;266 DLR (4th) 542;348 NR 201;[2006] SCJ No 19 (QL);JE 2006-1081

Bisaillon v. Concordia Univ. (2006), 348 N.R. 201 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

....................

Temp. Cite: [2006] N.R. TBEd. MY.030

Concordia University (appellant) v. Richard Bisaillon, Régie des rentes du Québec, Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA), John Hall and Howard Fink (res­pondents)

Concordia University Faculty Association (CUFA) (appellant) v. Richard Bisaillon, Régie des rentes du Québec, Concordia University, John Hall and Howard Fink (respondents)

(30363; 2006 SCC 19; 2006 CSC 19)

Indexed As: Bisaillon v. Concordia University

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Abella and Charron, JJ.

May 18, 2006.

Summary:

The employer offered a pension plan to all its unionized and non-unionized employees. All collective agreements in place mentioned in some way that the pension plan was avail­able. The employer unilaterally amended the pension plan. Allegedly, the employer wrongfully used plan funds to pay for contri­bution holidays and administrative costs, and to finance early retirement packages. A union­ized employee moved for authorization to insti­tute a class action against the em­ployer to annul the amendments and to have the funds taken under the amendments re­turned. A union moved for a declinatory exception.

The Quebec Superior Court, in a decision reported (2003), 36 C.C.P.B. 180, granted the motion. The court ruled that the plan was a benefit provided for in the collective agree­ment, and the dispute therefore resulted from the application of that agree­ment. Conse­quent­ly, only a grievance arbi­trator had jur­is­diction to hear the case. The plaintiff ap­pealed.

The Quebec Court of Appeal, in a deci­sion reported (2004), 42 C.C.P.B. 161, allowed the appeal. The employer and the union ap­pealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, McLach­lin, C.J.C., Bastarache and Binnie, JJ., dissent­ing, allowed the appeal and restored the judg­ment at first instance.

Labour Law - Topic 7

General principles and definitions - Gen­eral - Collective representation system - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the collective representation system in labour law - The court stated that the Quebec Labour Code gave certified unions a set of rights, the most important of which was most certainly the mono­poly on representation - Individual nego­tiation of conditions of employment was proscribed -In return, employees improved their posi­tion in the balance of power with the em­ployer - Finally, the col­lective represen­ta­tion system in labour law required the em­ployer to recognize the certified union and to enter in good-faith collective bar­gaining exclusively with it - Employers acquired the right to industrial peace for the term of the collective agre­ement - See paragraphs 23 to 28.

Labour Law - Topic 7

General principles and definitions - Gen­eral - Collective representation system - The employer offered a pension plan to all its unionized and non-unionized employees - All collective agreements in place men­tioned in some way that the pension plan was available - The employer unilaterally amended the pen­sion plan - Allegedly, the employer wrongfully used plan funds to pay for contribution holidays and adminis­trative costs, and to finance early retire­ment packages - A unionized employee moved for authorization to institute a class action against the employer to challenge the amendments - The Supreme Court of Can­ada ruled that a class action was an inappropriate remedy - The subject mat­ter of the dispute was within the arbitrat­or's jurisdiction under each collective agree­ment - The employer's unilateral amend­ments and the question of their validity were linked implicitly if not explicitly to the collective agreements - To authorize a class action here would be to deny the prin­ciples of the exclusivity of the arbitrat­or's jurisdiction and the union's monopoly on employee represen­tation - The Quebec Superior Court was correct in declining jur­isdiction and dis­missing the employee's motion - See paragraphs 1 to 65.

Labour Law - Topic 7041

Industrial relations - Collective agreement -Enforcement - Arbitration - Jurisdiction or powers of arbitrator or board - Gen­eral - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the subject-matter jurisdiction of grievance arbitrators and stated that it had "clearly adopted a liberal position according to which grievance arbitrators have a broad exclusive jurisdiction over issues relating to conditions of employ­ment, provided that those conditions can be shown to have an ex­press or implicit connection to the col­lective agreement" - See paragraphs 30 to 38.

Labour Law - Topic 7041

Industrial relations - Collective agreement -Enforcement - Arbitration - Jurisdiction or powers of arbitrator or board - Gen­eral - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the in personam jurisdiction of grievance arbitrators - The court stated that an arbi­trator had no jurisdiction to hear claims of persons to whom the col­lective agreement did not apply - How­ever, the mere fact that the same issue arose in the collective agreements of several different bargaining units with a single employer did not oust the jurisdic­tion of the grievance arbitrator in favour of the ordinary courts - See paragraphs 39 to 41.

Labour Law - Topic 7041

Industrial relations - Collective agreement -Enforcement - Arbitration - Jurisdiction or powers of arbitrator or board - Gen­eral - [See second Labour Law - Topic 7 ].

Labour Law - Topic 7201

Industrial relations - Collective agreement -Enforcement - Civil action - When avail­able - [See second Labour Law - Topic 7 and Quebec Procedure - Topic 9001 ].

Quebec Procedure - Topic 9001

Class action - General - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the nature of the class action recourse provided under arts. 999 and following of the Code of Civil Procedure (Que.) - The court stated that the class action was a procedural ve­hicle whose use neither modified nor cre­ated substantive rights - It did not alter the jurisdiction of courts and tribu­nals - Deter­mining whether such a pro­ceeding lay in re­spect of issues relating prima facie to the law of collective labour relations thus re­quired a careful review of the institutions and fundamen­tal rules specific to this branch of law - See paragraphs 15 to 22.

Cases Noticed:

Nadon v. Anjou (Ville d'), [1994] R.J.Q. 1823 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 16].

Comité d'environnement de La Baie Inc. v. Société d'électrolyse et de chimie Alcan Ltée, [1990] R.J.Q. 655; 29 Q.A.C. 251 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 16].

Syndicat national des employés de l'Hô­pital St-Charles-Boromée v. Lapointe, [1980] C.A. 568, refd to. [para. 16].

Hollick v. Metropolitan Toronto (Munici­pality) et al., [2001] 3 S.C.R. 158; 277 N.R. 51; 153 O.A.C. 279; 2001 SCC 68, refd to. [para. 16].

Western Canadian Shopping Centres Inc. et al. v. Dutton et al., [2001] 2 S.C.R. 534; 272 N.R. 135; 286 A.R. 201; 253 W.A.C. 201; 2001 SCC 46, refd to. [para. 16].

Malhab v. Métromédia C.M.R. Montréal Inc., [2003] R.J.Q. 1011 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 17].

Tremaine v. Robins (A.H.) Canada Inc., [1990] R.D.J. 500 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 17].

Québec (Curateur public) v. Syndicat national des employés de l'Hôpital St-Ferdinand et autres, [1996] 3 S.C.R. 211; 202 N.R. 321, refd to. [para. 18].

Carrier v. Québec (Ministre de la Santé et des Services sociaux), [2000] Q.J. No. 3048, consd. [para. 19].

Hamer v. Québec (Sous-ministre du Re­venu), [1998] Q.J. No. 1600, consd. [para. 21].

Noël v. Société d'énergie de la Baie James, [2001] 2 S.C.R. 207; 271 N.R. 304; 2001 SCC 39, consd. [paras. 24, 71].

Syndicat catholique des employés de ma­gasins de Québec Inc. v. Compagnie Paquet Inc., [1959] S.C.R. 206, refd to. [para. 25].

Garon (Isidore) ltée v. Syndicat du bois ouvré de la région de Québec inc. (C.S.D.) et al. (2006), 344 N.R. 1; 2006 SCC 2, refd to. [para. 25].

Hémond, Grenier and Ouellet v. Syndicat des travailleurs(euses) de l'abbatoir de Princeville, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 962; 103 N.R. 193; 27 Q.A.C. 185, refd to. [para. 25].

Paccar of Canada Ltd. v. Canadian Asso­ciation of Industrial, Mechanical and Allied Workers, Local 14, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 983; 102 N.R. 1; 62 D.L.R.(4th) 437, refd to. [para. 28].

R. v. Mills, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 863; 67 N.R. 241; 16 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 29].

Weber v. Ontario Hydro, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 929; 183 N.R. 241; 82 O.A.C. 321, consd. [paras. 29, 67].

Regina Police Association Inc. and Sho­tton v. Board of Police Commissioners of Regina, [2000] 1 S.C.R. 360; 251 N.R. 16; 189 Sask.R. 23; 216 W.A.C. 23; 2000 SCC 14, consd. [paras. 31, 67].

New Brunswick v. O'Leary, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 967; 183 N.R. 229; 163 N.B.R.(2d) 97; 419 A.P.R. 97, refd to. [para. 33].

Social Services Administration Board (Parry Sound District) v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 324 et al., [2003] 2 S.C.R. 157; 308 N.R. 271; 177 O.A.C. 235; 2003 SCC 42, refd to. [para. 33].

St. Anne Nackawic Pulp & Paper Co. v. Canadian Paper Workers Union, Local 219, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 704; 68 N.R. 112; 73 N.B.R.(2d) 236; 184 A.P.R. 236, refd to. [para. 33].

Allen et al. v. Alberta, [2003] 1 S.C.R. 128; 301 N.R. 174; 327 A.R. 1; 296 W.A.C. 1; 2003 SCC 13, refd to. [para. 33].

Asbestos (J.M.) Inc. v. Lemieux, [1986] Q.J. No. 613 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 35].

Union international des employés profes­sionnels et de bureau, locale 480 v. Al­bright & Wilson Amérique ltée (2000), 28 C.C.P.B. 306 (Que. C.A.), refd to. [paras. 36, 85].

Emerson Electric Canada ltée v. Foisy (2006), 50 C.C.P.B. 287; 2006 QCCA 12, refd to. [paras. 37, 85].

Hydro-Québec v. Corbeil (2005), 47 C.C.P.B. 200; 2005 QCCA 610, refd to. [paras. 38, 85].

Association provinciale des retraites d'Hydro-Québec v. Hydro-Québec, [2005] R.J.Q. 927; 2005 QCCA 304, refd to. [para. 38].

Canadian Union of Public Employees v. Canadian Broadcasting Corp. et al., [1992] 2 S.C.R. 7; 137 N.R. 7; 54 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 40].

Québec v. Paquet (Collège d'enseigne­ment général et professionnel régional de Lanaudière et Syndicat des profes­sion­nelles et professionnels du gouver­nement du Québec, section locale 8), [2005] Q.J. No. 678; 2005 QCCA 109, refd to. [paras. 41, 94].

Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Em­ployees v. Canadian Pacific Ltd., [1996] 2 S.C.R. 495; 198 N.R. 161; 78 B.C.A.C. 162; 128 W.A.C. 162, refd to. [para. 42].

Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (Que.) v. Que­bec (Attorney General) et al., [2004] 2 S.C.R. 185; 321 N.R. 290; 2004 SCC 39, refd to. [para. 72].

Goudie et al. v. Ottawa (City), [2003] 1 S.C.R. 141; 301 N.R. 201; 170 O.A.C. 201; 2003 SCC 14, consd. [para. 79].

Lacroix v. Société Asbestos ltée (2004), 43 C.C.P.B. 267 (Que. C.A.), refd to. [para. 82].

Vidéotron ltée v. Turcotte, [1988] Q.J. No. 2742 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 86].

London Life Insurance Co. v. Dubreuil Brothers Employees Association (2000), 134 O.A.C. 382; 49 O.R.(3d) 766 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 86].

Elkview Coal Corp. v. United Steelworkers of America, Local 9346 et al. (2001), 156 B.C.A.C. 244; 255 W.A.C. 244; 205 D.L.R.(4th) 80; 2001 BCCA 488, refd to. [para. 86].

Board of Education of Toronto v. Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation District 15 et al., [1997] 1 S.C.R. 487; 208 N.R. 245; 98 O.A.C. 241; 144 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 94].

Toronto (City) et al. v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 79 et al., [2003] 3 S.C.R. 77; 311 N.R. 201; 179 O.A.C. 291; 2003 SCC 63, refd to. [para. 94].

Voice Construction Ltd. v. Construction & General Workers' Union, Local 92, [2004] 1 S.C.R. 609; 318 N.R. 332; 346 A.R. 201; 320 W.A.C. 201; 2004 SCC 23, refd to. [para. 94].

Statutes Noticed:

Code of Civil Procedure, R.S.Q. 1977, c. C-25, art. 55, art. 462 [para. 98].

Labour Code, R.S.Q. 1977, c. C-27, sect. 1(f) [para. 30]; sect. 21 [para. 23, 26]; 100.1 [para. 30].

Supplemental Pension Plans Act, R.S.Q. 1977, c. R-15.1, sect. 146.5 [paras. 43, 44].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Beaulieu, Jacqueline, Loi sur les régimes complémentaires de retraite: annotations et commentaires (1992) (1998 Looseleaf Supp., No. 6), vol. 1, pp. 245-1, 245-2 [para. 43].

Blouin, Rodrique and Morin, Fernand, Droit de l'arbitrage de grief (5th Ed. 2000), p. 149 [para. 39].

Crête, Raymonde, Les régimes complé­mentaires de retraite au Québec: une institution à découvrir en droit civil (1989), 49 R. du B. 177, p. 209 [para. 43].

Ferland, Denis, and Emery, Benoît, Pré­cis de procédure civile du Québec (4th Ed. 2003), vol. 2, pp. 876, 877 [para. 17].

Gagnon, Robert P., Droit de travail du Québec (5th Ed. 2003), pp. 289 [para. 23]; 506 [para. 29]; 546 [para. 42]; 547 [paras. 40, 42].

Gagnon, Robert P., LeBel, Louis and Verge, Pierre, Droit du travail (2nd Ed. 1991), p. 710 [para. 42].

Lauzon, Yves, Le recours collectif (2001), pp. 5, 9 [para. 17].

Savard, Manon and Anouk, Violette, Les af­faires Weber, O'Leary et Canadien Pa­cifique Ltée: que reste-t-il pour les cours de justice, in Développements récents en droit du travail (1997), vol. 49, pp. 72, 73 [para. 38].

Counsel:

Guy Du Pont, Nancy Boyle, Nick Ro­drigo and Jean-Philippe Groleau, for the appel­lant/respondent Concordia University;

John T. Keenan and Harold C. Lehrer, for the respondent/appellant Concordia Uni­versity Faculty Association;

Mario Évangéliste and Marie Pépin, for the respondent Richard Bisaillon;

No one appeared for the respondents Régie des rentes du Québec, John Hall and Howard Fink.

Solicitors of Record:

Desjardins Ducharme Stein Monast, Mon­tréal, Quebec; Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Montréal, Quebec, for the appellant/respondent Concordia Univer­sity;

Keenan Lehrer, Montréal, Quebec, for the respondent/appellant Concordia Univer­sity Faculty Association;

Pépin et Roy, Montréal, Quebec, for the respondent Richard Bisaillon.

This appeal was heard on December 14, 2005, by McLachlin, C.J.C., Bastarache, Binnie, LeBel, Deschamps, Abella and Char­ron, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

The judgment of the Supreme Court was delivered in both official languages on May 18, 2006, and the following opinions were filed:

LeBel, J. (Deschamps, Abella and Char­ron, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 65;

Bastarache, J., dissenting (McLachlin, C.J.C., and Binnie, J., concurring) - see paragraphs 66 to 100.

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