Day v. IATSE local 873, 2018 ONSC 6934

In this decision, the Ontario Superior Court dismissed a breach of contract claim challenging the Union’s handling of an internal trial process which resulted in the plaintiff’s suspension from membership for 6 months.

The plaintiff had received a six month suspension and was unsuccessful in appealing decision through an internal union process. The plaintiff then commenced an action in Superior Court for damages for breach of contract and an order that the suspension be expunged from the records of Local 873. The plaintiff alleged that the Union breached its Constitution because he was denied procedural fairness and the disciplinary proceedings were unfair because he was not provided an unbiased adjudicator.

The Union was successful in its summary judgement motion.

The Union successfully argued that the action should be dismissed summarily on the basis that it constituted an improper attempt to seek judicial review. The Court dismissed the Plaintiffs argument that circumstances under which a court could interfere with decisions of voluntary associations should be expanded to all occasions where the association breached its own internal rules. The Court confirmed that it could only intervene where there has been procedural unfairness.

Ultimately, the Court determined that the Plaintiff was not deprived of any procedural fairness by any violations of the International Constitution. The Court determined there was no prejudice due to a 10 day delay in reading the charges at a membership meeting. The Plaintiff was not prejudiced by receiving notice concerning the availability of transcripts 12 days before the membership meeting instead of 20 days before. Failing to serve a copy of an answer to the plaintiff before the first appeal decision further did not deprive the plaintiff of a fair process. The effect of failing to comply with procedural requirements in the International Constitution did not deprive the Plaintiff of procedural fairness.

Lastly, the Court determined there was no deprivation of procedural fairness due to a biased adjudicator. The Court confirmed that its role is not to act as an appellate court on the merits of a decision of a union. There was simply no evidence to support an argument the Plaintiff was not given a fair hearing.

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English (Canada)