British Columbia Teachers' Federation, et al. v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Association, et al.  (Labour relations – collective agreements – pregnancy benefits – parental benefits)

On appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia, 2013 BCCA 405, pronounced September 20, 2013. 

The collective agreement provides birth mothers, birth fathers and adoptive parents with 95% of their salary for the two-week unpaid waiting period for EI benefits, and 70% of the difference between EI benefits and their salary for an additional 15 weeks.  Birth mothers could elect to take their supplemental employment benefits with their maternity leave or their parental leave.  The applicants filed a grievance alleging that the respondents had failed to provide supplemental employment benefits to birth mothers in relation to both maternity leave and parental leave.  They alleged that this failure was discriminatory conduct contrary to the Human Rights Code, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 210, and s. 15 of the Charter of Rights.  The Arbitrator allowed the grievance.  The Court of Appeal allowed the appeal, set aside the Arbitrator’s decision and dismissed the grievance. 

HELD (7:0):  that the appeal be allowed. 

In brief oral reasons, the Court stated:  “The Court of Appeal erred in failing to give deference to the Arbitrator’s interpretation of the collective agreement and in failing to recognize the different purposes of pregnancy benefits and parental benefits. The Arbitrator was entitled to reach the conclusions that he did and we see no reason to interfere with the remedy. The appeal is allowed with costs and the Arbitrator’s award is restored.” 

Reasons for judgment by Karakatsanis J.  Neutral citation:  2014 SCC 70.  No. 35623.

November 20, 2014

R. v. Wills

The appeal from the judgment of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, 2014 ONCA 178, pronounced March 7, 2014.

HELD (3:2): ROTHSTEIN J. — The majority of the Court is of the view that the appeal should be dismissed for the reasons of Doherty J.A. in the Court of Appeal. Justices Cromwell and Karakatsanis, dissenting, would have allowed the appeal for the reasons of Pepall J.A.

Neutral citation:  2014 SCC 73.  No. 35804.