Société des casinos du Québec inc., et al. v. Association des cadres de la Société des casinos du Québec, et al.
(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)
Canadian charter (Non-criminal) - Freedom of association, Labour relations, Certification - Charters of Rights - Freedom of association - Labour relations - Certification - Association of managers - Casino - Definition of employee in Labour Code of province of Quebec - Whether s. 1(l)(1) of Labour Code infringes s. 2(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and s. 3 of Charter of human rights and freedoms, CQLR, c. C-12 (Quebec Charter) - If so, whether infringement constitutes reasonable limit prescribed by law that can be demonstrably justified in free and democratic society within meaning of s. 1 of Canadian Charter and s. 9.1 of Quebec Charter - Whether reviewing court must defer to administrative tribunal’s findings of mixed fact and law where constitutional validity of statute is challenged - Labour Code, CQLR, c. C-27, s. 1(l)(1) - Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ss. 1, 2(d) - Charter of human rights and freedoms, CQLR, c. C-12, ss. 3, 9.1.
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The respondent, the Association des cadres de la Société des casinos du Québec (Association), was formed in 1997 under the Professional Syndicates Act, CQLR, c. S-40. Seventy percent of the operations supervisors assigned to the gaming tables at Casino de Montréal are members of the Association. The supervisors are the fifth level of management and are front-line managers at the appellant employer, Société des casinos du Québec inc. (Société). The Société is a subsidiary of the Société des loteries du Québec responsible for four casinos, including Casino de Montréal. Given that each casino’s operations are divided into three areas — gaming tables, slot machines and poker rooms — the Association’s members make up a majority of the supervisors in all three areas combined. Since its creation, the Association’s goal has been to secure recognition from the employer so that it can represent the supervisors and negotiate their conditions of employment. In November 2009, the Association filed a petition for certification with the Commission des relations du travail (which in 2016 became the Administrative Labour Tribunal (ALT)) under ss. 25 et seq. of the Labour Code, CQLR, c. C-27. The filing of that petition allegedly arose out of numerous failed attempts by the parties to negotiate changes to a memorandum of understanding entered into in 2001. In the petition, the Association also asked that the exclusion of managers from the definition of “employee” in s. 1(l)(1) of the Labour Code be declared constitutionally inoperable against the Association and its members on the ground that the provision infringed the freedom of association guaranteed in s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter and s. 3 of the Charter of human rights and freedoms, CQLR, c. C-12 (Quebec Charter). The ALT declared that s. 1(l)(1) infringed the freedom of association guaranteed by the two charters to the persons covered by the Association’s petition for certification and that the section was of no force or effect in the context of the petition.
The Superior Court allowed the application for judicial review filed by the Société, and the Court of Appeal allowed the Association’s appeal.
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