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Wilson V. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd.

Essay by   •  March 24, 2019  •  Case Study  •  1,114 Words (5 Pages)  •  385 Views

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Assignment One

Wilson v. Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., [2016] 1 SCR 770, 2016 SCC 29 (CanLII)

Question 1.

The majority opinion was a better interpretation of the relevant sections of sections of the Canadian Labour Code because the interpretation was within the scheme of Act, fulfilled the object of the Act and held within the intended intention of parliament upon enacting the 1978 provisions.

“Today there is only one principle or approach, namely, the words of an Act are to be read in their entire context and in their grammatical and ordinary sense harmoniously with the scheme of the Act, the object of the Act, and the intention of Parliament”.

The modern principle requires that statutes “be read to give the words their most obvious ordinary meaning which accords with the context and purpose of the enactment in which they occur” . When a court interprets a statute, it is “seeking not what Parliament meant but the true meaning of what they said” . The true meaning of what Parliament said is clear: federally regulated employers can dismiss their employees without cause.

In addition, this case requires us to apply the usual approach to reasonableness. The issue here is whether the Adjudicator’s interpretation of ss. 240 to 246 of the Code was reasonable. The text, the context, the statements of the Minister when the legislation was introduced, and the views of the overwhelming majority of arbitrators and labour law scholars, confirm that the entire purpose of the statutory scheme was to ensure that non-unionized federal employees would be entitled to protection from being dismissed without cause under Part III of the Code. The alternative approach of severance pay in lieu falls outside the range of “possible, acceptable outcomes which are defensible in respect of the facts and law” because it completely undermines this purpose by permitting employers, at their option, to deprive employees of the full remedial package Parliament created for them. The rights of employees should be based on what Parliament intended, not on the opinion view of the individual employer or adjudicator.

Furthermore, the majority’s understanding of the continuing role of the common law in the federal employment relationship is internally inconsistent. Implicit in the majority’s reasons is a belief that Parliament did not intend to oust the common law of wrongful dismissal when it enacted ss. 240 to 245: it states that Parliament’s intention was “to offer an alternative statutory scheme consisting of expansive protections much like those available to employees covered by a collective agreement” , while claiming that this scheme has “completely replaced” the “foundational premise of the common law scheme being a right to dismiss on reasonable notice without cause or reasons” . It also maintains that s. 246 entitles employees to “pursue their common law remedy of reasonable notice or pay in lieu” . In other words, the continuing operation of the common law to define the basis of the federal employment relationship where a remedy is pursued under s. 242 of the Code is denied; yet, its operation, for the purpose of defining the basis of the federal employment relationship where civil remedies for dismissal are pursued, is accepted.

Question 2.

The Canadian Labour Code provisions on terminations and unjust dismissal were enacted to provide non-unionized federal workers the benefits that unionized workers have on common law. The purpose of the statute is to provide remedies for employees. The reinstatement provision protects employees that have upheld the employer standards and fulfilled the job requirements. I believe that Ontario should have reinstatement provisions for all employees that uphold the standards of their employers.

Canadians understand that if they are terminated by their employer without cause –that is, without having done anything wrong – that they are owed some measure of notice of that termination, or compensation in lieu thereof.

Not surprisingly, the common law affords employees who are dismissed without cause with the right to “reasonable notice” of their termination. In other words, your employer either



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