Federal Appeal

Communications Law

Employer’s operations so local to suggest it was not federal undertaking

This was application for judicial review of Canada Industrial Relations Board’s decision certifying union as sole bargaining agent for employer’s employees. Employer was bicycle and pedestrian courier company. Employer delivered time-sensitive letters and packages within Greater Toronto Area. Board held that employer was providing postal service within meaning of s. 91(5) of Constitution Act, 1867, and that its operations fell within competence of Parliament. Board found it had jurisdiction to certify union as sole bargaining agent for employer’s employees. Application granted. Employer’s business involved collection, transportation and delivery for fee of time-sensitive letters and small packages exclusively within Greater Toronto Area. Item was usually delivered on same day it was collected. Employer had no connection with Canada Post or any intra-provincial service. Employer’s habitual activities and daily operations were so local and limited in nature to suggest that it was not federal undertaking. Choice of singular “postal service” in s. 91(5) of Act supported employer’s position that there was only one postal service in Canada. Employer had none of essential characteristics of postal service. “Postal service” in s. 91(5) of Act referred to national delivery system, currently operated by Canada Post. Board had no jurisdiction to grant union’s certification request and certification order was quashed.

TurnAround Couriers Inc. v. C.U.P.W.

(Feb. 2, 2012, F.C.A., Blais C.J., Evans and Sharlow JJ.A., File No. A-441-10) 212 A.C.W.S. (3d) 714 (25 pp.).

cover image


Subscribers get early and easy access to Law Times.

Law Times Poll

Ontario’s provincial government said it will use both the courts and the legislature to cut the size of Toronto’s city council ahead of an Oct. 22 election. Do you think lawyers' efforts to stop this move will be successful?