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Supreme Court Hearings - Parry Sound Social Services v. OPSEU Local 234 (Part 1 of 2)


The court hears arguments in case #28 819, District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 324, on January 24, 2003.

Joanne O’Brien was a probationary employee for the District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board when she went on maternity leave. She was fired a few days after returning to work. Her employment was governed by a collective agreement between her employer and Local 324 of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union. Ms. O’Brien grieved her termination under the terms of the collective agreement, claiming that the firing was discriminatory, but her employer objected that the board of arbitration had no jurisdiction over the matter. The arbitration board found that the Labour Relations Act required it to interpret a collective agreement in a manner consistent with the Human Rights Code, and thus determined that it had the power and responsibility to hear Ms. O’Brien’s grievance.

The District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board applied for judicial review of this decision and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled that the arbitration board did not have jurisdiction over the matter. On appeal, however, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled that the arbitration board did, in fact, have such jurisdiction. The District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board is appealing that decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Lawyers William G. Horton and Catherine Beagan Flood present arguments on behalf of the District of Parry Sound Social Services Administration Board.


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