In a decision dated January 10, 2022, the Ontario Labour Relations Board (the “Board”) dismissed a duty of fair representation application filed by Tiffany Bloomfield, Danielle Hurding, Mel Lewis, Lexi L. Bezzo, and Jaclyn Wagner (the “Applicants”) alleging that Service Employees International Union (the “Union”) had breached s. 74 of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 in respect of their employment with the intervenor, CarePartners (the “Employer”).
In the fall of 2021, the Employer introduced a COVID-19 vaccination policy that required employees to receive one dose of the vaccine by November 29, 2021 and attest that they would receive a second dose by January 19, 2022. The Union sought legal advice and advised its membership that mandatory vaccination policies would will most likely be upheld, that grievances filed would be held in abeyance “pending case law” and that absent a valid exemption, employees who refused to be vaccinated risked discipline.
The Board dismissed the parts of the application challenging the Employer’s policy on the basis that a section 74 complaint was not the right forum for this issue and the remedies requested were not available. The Board also dismissed the complaints the Applicants made against the Union on the basis that they did not establish a prima facie case that the Union acted in a manner that was arbitrary, discriminatory or in bad faith in its communication with its members and its approach to processing grievances, including its decision to hold them in abeyance pending its review of future arbitral decisions on the matter.
To see the full decision, click here.