National Assembly not needing exclusive, unreviewable authority to perform its constitutional role

Supreme court | Labour and Employment Law | Public service employees | Termination of employment

Three security guards employed by National Assembly of Québec were dismissed by President of National Assembly. Their union grieved their termination before labour arbitrator. Arbitrator concluded that guards’ functions were not closely and directly connected to Assembly’s constitutional functions. Arbitrator held that their management was not protected by parliamentary privilege and that grievances could proceed. President brought motion seeking judicial review of arbitrator’s decision. Reviewing judge granted motion, holding that decision to dismiss security guards was protected from review by privilege over management of employees. As result, arbitrator did not have jurisdiction to decide grievances and union appealed. Majority of Court of Appeal held that arbitrator had correctly concluded that dismissals of security guards were not protected by parliamentary privilege because their tasks were not closely and directly connected to National Assembly’s functions. President appealed. Appeal dismissed. National Assembly did not need exclusive, unreviewable authority over management of its security guards in order to perform its constitutional role with dignity and efficiency. Further, Assembly’s ability to carry out its constitutional mandate did not require scope of parliamentary privilege to extend so far as to protect decision to terminate employees. Therefore, President failed to establish that dismissals were protected by parliamentary privilege and decision of labour arbitrator should be confirmed.

Chagnon v. Syndicat de la fonction publique et parapublique du Québec (2018), 2018 CarswellQue 8572, 2018 CarswellQue 8573, 2018 SCC 39, 2018 CSC 39, Wagner C.J.C., Abella J., Moldaver J., Karakatsanis J., Gascon J., Côté J., Brown J., Rowe J., and Martin J. (S.C.C.); affirmed (2017), 2017 CarswellQue 1071, 2017 QCCA 271, Bélanger J.C.A., Morin J.C.A., and Chamberland J.C.A. (C.A. Que.).

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