Maritime Employers Association, et al. v. Syndicat des débardeurs, section locale 375 du syndicat canadien de la fonction publique, et al.

(Federal) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case) (Sealing order) (Certain information not available to the public)


Administrative law — Judicial review — Collective bargaining — Right to strike — Essential services — Whether entity that decides essential services application may consider constitutionally recognized right to strike to detriment of rights to life and security protected by Canadian Charter — Role and guidelines that must be respected by entity responsible for protecting public interest in context of determining essential services — Pursuant to s. 87.4 of Canada Labour Code, level and type of risk to public health and safety required to deem services essential during strike or lockout — What is threshold for establishing alternatives in event of strike or lockout and who bears burden of proof? — Canada Labour Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. L 2, s. 87.4.


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On September 4, 2018, the respondent Le Syndicat des débardeurs, section locale 375 du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique (SCFP), sent the applicant Maritime Employers Association (MEA) a notice to bargain pursuant to s. 49(1) of the Canada Labour Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. L 2 (CLC), for the purpose of renewing the expiring collective agreement. In October 2018, the MEA filed an application under s. 87.4 of the CLC to obtain an order from the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) that all longshoring activities performed by SCFP members at the Port of Montreal be maintained in the event of a strike. In November 2018, the CIRB granted a limited right to intervene to six interveners for the purposes of the application, that is, the Montreal Port Authority, the Quebec Employers Council, the Shipping Federation of Canada, the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec, the International Longshoremen’s Association and the Chambre de commerce de l’Est de Montréal. The CIRB dismissed the MEA’s application and the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the application for judicial review of the CIRB’s decision.

Lower Court Rulings

June 8, 2020
Canada Industrial Relations Board

2020 CCRI 927, 32800-C
Application filed pursuant to s. 87.4 of Canada Labour Code for maintenance of all longshoring services at Port of Montreal in event of strike dismissed
May 5, 2023
Federal Court of Appeal

2023 FCA 93, A-162-20
Application for judicial review dismissed