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Civil and Administrative
Litigation Opinions
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Contracts - Collective Agreements

. Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association v. City of Toronto

In Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association v. City of Toronto (Div Court, 2023) the Divisional Court notes that contractual law governs labour arbitrators in the interpretation of collective agreements, subject to deference on review:
[21] Labour arbitrators are bound by common law principles of contractual interpretation when interpreting collective agreements. The goal of the interpretation exercise "is to determine the objective intention of the parties based on the words they have chosen to use in their agreement" and a "practical, common-sense approach is to be applied to contractual interpretation." The parties are assumed to have intended what they said and the meaning of the collective agreement is to be sought in its express provisions. However, in the field of labour arbitration a reviewing court is not to set aside the findings of a properly constituted board of arbitration which has been called upon to interpret a collective agreement unless the court is of the opinion that the interpretation given to the contract by the board is one that the language of the contract cannot reasonably bear. The attraction of alternative interpretations and even the court's preference for such are both irrelevant considerations if the board's interpretation can reasonably be taken from the agreement. (see: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 5825 v. Scarborough Health Network, 2022 ONSC 604; Re I.C.L. International Carriers Ltd. and Teamsters Union, Locals 141, 879, 880 and 938, 1984 CanLII 1989.


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Last modified: 15-11-23
By: admin