Michaels et al. v. Red Deer College, (1975) 5 N.R. 99 (SCC)

JudgeLaskin, C.J.C., Martland, Spence, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateMay 20, 1975
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1975), 5 N.R. 99 (SCC);[1975] 5 WWR 575;[1976] 2 SCR 324;[1975] CarswellAlta 57;AZ-76111081;[1975] SCJ No 81 (QL);5 NR 99;57 DLR (3d) 386;1975 CanLII 15 (SCC);[1975] ACS no 81

Michaels v. Red Deer College (1975), 5 N.R. 99 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

Michaels et al. v. Red Deer College

Indexed As: Michaels et al. v. Red Deer College

Supreme Court of Canada

Laskin, C.J.C., Martland, Spence, Beetz and de Grandpré, JJ.

May 20, 1975.

Summary:

This case arose out of the dismissal of two teachers by Red Deer College on July 31, 1972. The teachers were granted tenure by the College Board on March 31, 1971. Subsequently a collective agreement was signed between Red Deer College and its teachers, which included the two teachers who were dismissed. However, the collective agreement expired prior to the dismissal of the teachers. The trial court allowed the plaintiffs' action and awarded the plaintiffs a sum representing their salary for five months.

On appeal to the Alberta Court of Appeal the judgment of the trial court was varied. The Alberta Court of Appeal held that the teachers were entitled to a sum representing their salary for one year. The Alberta Court of Appeal stated that the provisions of the collective agreement were not relevant and that the ordinary rules in cases of wrongful dismissal must be applied - see [1974] 2 W.W.R. 416.

On appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada the appeal was dismissed and the judgment of the Alberta Court of Appeal was affirmed. The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the defendant, in a breach of contract case, has the burden of proving the plaintiff failed to mitigate or could have reasonably avoided part of the loss claimed - see paragraphs 9 to 11.

Master and Servant - Topic 8000

Dismissal with notice - What constitutes reasonable notice - Dismissal of a teacher by Red Deer College - The Supreme Court of Canada held that a reasonable period of notice in the circumstances was 12 months - See paragraphs 31 and 32.

Damages - Topic 5701

Contract - Primary rule for breach of contract - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that a wronged plaintiff is entitled to be put in as good a position as he would have been in if there had been proper performance by the defendant, but the defendant cannot be called upon to pay for avoidable loss which would result in an increase in the damages payable to the plaintiff - See paragraph 7.

Damages - Topic 1002

Mitigation - Breach of contract - The Supreme Court of Canada referred to the general rule out of which the duty to mitigate arises - See paragraphs 7 and 8.

Damages - Topic 1084

Mitigation - Evidence - Burden of proof - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that a defendant, in a breach of contract case, has the burden of proving that the plaintiff could reasonably have avoided part of the loss claimed - See paragraphs 9 to 11.

Education - Topic 6260

Teachers - Dismissal - Whether an employer was bound to comply with the special dismissal procedures contained in a collective agreement - Two teachers following dismissal commenced an action for wrongful dismissal - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that the teachers could not complain of non-recourse by the employer to the special dismissal procedures in the collective agreement where the teachers made no effort to invoke the collective agreement and the special procedures contained therein - See paragraph 24.

Civil Rights - Topic 3111

Due process - Due process satisfied by an action in the courts - As a result of dismissal a teacher alleged deprivation of security of the person and enjoyment of property without due process of law as required by the Alberta Bill of Rights - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that an action in the courts by the teacher for wrongful dismissal gave the teacher due process of law - See paragraph 30.

Statutes - Topic 5353

Delegated legislation - Regulations - What constitutes a regulation - Alberta Regulations Act, s. 2(2) - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that an appointment of a teacher to a position at the Red Deer College pursuant to an order in council did not constitute a regulation subject to the filing provisions of the Regulations Act - See paragraphs 14 and 15.

Cases Noticed:

Cockburn v. Trusts and Guarantee Co. (1917), 55 S.C.R. 264, refd to. [para. 3].

Cemco Electrical Manufacturing Co. Ltd. v. Van Snellenberg, [1947] S.C.R. 121, refd to. [para. 3].

Canadian Ice Machine Co. Ltd. v. Sinclair, [1955] S.C.R. 777, refd to. [para. 3].

Dunkirk Colliery Co. v. Lever (1878), 9 Ch. D. 20, folld. [para. 4].

British Westinghouse Electric Co. v. Underground Electric Railways Co., [1912] A.C. 673, at p. 689, folld. [para. 4].

Payzu Ltd. v. Saunders, [1919] 2 K.B. 581, at p. 589, folld. [para. 8].

John East Iron Works Ltd. v. Labour Relations Board of Saskatchewan, [1940] 3 D.L.R. 51, at p. 57, folld. [para. 10].

Yelton v. Eastwoods Froy Ltd., [1967] 1 W.L.R. 104, folld. [para. 10].

Ridge v. Baldwin, [1964] A.C. 40, refd to. [para. 12]; dist. [para. 26].

Vine v. National Dock Labour Board, [1957] A.C. 488, folld. [para. 26].

Sanders v. Ernest A. Neale Ltd., [1974] 3 All E.R. 327, folld. [para. 26].

Placsko v. Board of Humboldt School Unit No. 47 (1917), 18 D.L.R. 3rd 374, dist. [para. 27].

Zeller's (Western) Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union (1973), 40 D.L.R.(3rd) 761, folld. [para. 27].

Hill v. C.A. Parsons & Co. Ltd., [1972] 1 Ch. 305, dist. [para. 28].

Perry v. Sniderman (1972), 92 S. Ct. 2694, dist. [para. 30].

Board of Regents of State Colleges v. Roth (1972), 92 S. Ct. 2701, dist. [para. 30].

Cooke v. CKOY Ltd., [1963] 2 O.R. 257, dist. [para. 31].

Salt v. Power Plant Co. Ltd., [1936] 3 All E.R. 322, dist. [para. 31].

Lucy v. Commonwealth (1923), 33 C.L.R. 229, folld. [para. 31].

Statutes Noticed:

Regulations Act, R.S.A. 1970, c. 318, sect. 2(1)(f), sect. 2(2) [para. 15].

Alberta Bill of Rights, S.A. 1972, c. 1, sect. 1(a).

Counsel:

J.W. Beames, Q.C., and L.R. Lizee, for the appellant;

G.S.D. Wright and J. Robb, for the respondents.

This appeal was heard by the Supreme Court of Canada on December 4, 5 and 6, 1974. Judgment was delivered by the Supreme Court of Canada on May 20, 1975 and the following opinions were filed:

LASKIN, C.J.C. - see paragraphs 1 to 33.

de GRANDPRE, J. - see paragraphs 34 to 37.

MARTLAND, SPENCE and BEETZ, JJ., concurred with LASKIN, C.J.C.

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