CANADA POST CORP. v. CANADIAN UNION OF POSTAL WORKERS 2019 SCC 67

Not inspecting a place does not violate any right or statute.

A person filed a complaint against Canada post in august 2012, complaining about its performance. The person was from the Local Joint Health and Safety Committee at Canada Post’s Burlington Depot who was also serving as a representative in the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. The person alleged that the Canadian post was only performing inspections annually complying with the Code at the Burlington mail depot. Also, as a result of this compliance, the points of call and carrier routes in Burlington were alleged not to have been inspected at the same standard it was supposed to be done.

The union contended that the law mandates the need for inspection of such places frequently as they are the traffic routes for mail carriers to be carried out. The complainant on the other hand concentrated his argument towards the 73 most concerned carrier routes in Burlington and the impact of the complaint in Canada.

The respective complaint in the federal jurisdiction regarding workplace safety was first made with the Health and Safety Officer at the Ministry of Labour, Canada. Such decisions can be appealed due to which it fell under an officer under a tribunal. Though the officer initially supported the union, later the decision was overturned.

Further, A Health and Safety Officer (“HSO”) was given the charge of the investigation and they found that Canada Post had failed to comply with the Code. They only inspected the Burlington depot and other places such as letter carriers’ delivery routes and points of delivery. The union then applied to federal court on the appeal officer’s decision requesting for a judicial review. The court later examined the matter and held the officer’s decision to be true and reasonable. Therefore, it dismissed the petition. And at the last, Canada post applied for an appeal for the decision taken by the federal court in the SCC.

Taking the review done in 2019 in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v Vavilov SCC reviewed the administrative processes. The said precedent mandated the courts to check whether the decision made was internally reasonable as well as coherent with respect to the facts of the case and the use of law simultaneously if it is relevant or not in cases where administrative decisions are to be reviewed.

The SCC felt that the Appeals Officer’s decision and his intellect on the matter that employers should only inspect workplace consisting parts which are in their control is reasonable as for those employers who do not control a workplace cannot ensure its inspection, neither they can remedy any safety hazards in that process. Therefore, it was difficult for employees to ensure safety in places such as Canada Post’s expansive delivery routes and points of delivery. Therefore, the union’s argument that the decision was inconsistent and unreasonable was rejected by SCC.

Hence, it was held that Canada postal corp. did not violate any statute and not inspecting any places does not violate any rights or statutes.