Canada Post Corporation v. Canadian Union of Postal Workers

(Federal) (Civil) (By Leave)


Administrative law - Judicial review - Administrative law - Judicial review - Labour law - Annual inspections - Work place - Postal workers - Points of call and lines of route - Whether the appeals officer reasonably concluded that the inspection obligation under s. 125(1)(z.12) applies only where the employer has physical control over the work place?.


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In 2012, an employee member of the local joint health and safety committee, represented by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, filed a complaint alleging that only the Canada Post building in Burlington was being inspected, whereas the letter carrier routes should also be inspected. Following an investigation of the complaint, a Health and Safety Officer issued a direction citing four contraventions of the Canada Labour Code, R.S.C. 1985, c. L-2. One of them remains relevant: the Officer was of the opinion that, by restricting its inspections to the physical building in Burlington, Canada Post had failed to ensure that the workplace health and safety committee had inspected the entirety of the work place annually, thereby contravening s. 125(1)(z.12) of the Code. Canada Post appealed that decision to the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal.

The Appeals Officer varied the Health and Safety Officer’s decision and rescinded the contravention of s. 125(1)(z.12), finding that the inspection obligation did not “apply to any place where a letter carrier is engaged in work outside of the physical building”: para. 99. The “work place” included all points of call and lines of route, but control over the work place is required in order to fulfil the obligations imposed by s. 125(1)(z.12). Since the employer has no control over the points of call or the lines of route, it could not comply with those obligations.

The Union sought judicial review of the Appeals Officer’s decision. The Federal Court found that the Appeals Officer’s decision was reasonable, but the Federal Court of Appeal allowed the Union’s appeal.