The Applicant sought unsuccessfully a judicial review of a decision of the Public Service Labour Relations Board (the “Board”), which dismissed her complaints under the Public Service Labour Relations Act and applications for the Board’s consent to institute prosecutions for breaches of the Act. The Board had dismissed the complaints and applications on the grounds that they were more appropriately dealt with in hearings currently being held by the Board or in proceedings brought by the applicant in Federal Court, and that adjudicating numerous complaints stemming from essentially the same subject matter served no legitimate labour relations purpose.

Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Labour and employment boards – Discretion of tribunal – Labour law – Collective agreements – Judicial review application – Compliance with legislation – Procedural requirements and fairness

Bremsak v. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, [2012] F.C.J. No. 528, 2012 FCA 91, Federal Court of Appeal, March 15, 2012, Blais C.J., Evans and Layden-Stevenson JJ.A.

The applicant had been engaged in a long and heated dispute with her union, the Professional Institute of the Public Services of Canada (“PIPSC”) as well as some of its officers and members, which had resulted in multiple applications to the Board by both parties. On one such application, the Board had ordered that PIPSC reinstate the applicant to office, finding the union policy under which she had been temporarily suspended to be invalid. PIPSC refused to comply with the order and the Federal Court had found PIPSC to be in contempt, and that decision was being appealed by PIPSC to the Federal Court of Appeal at the time of this application. The applicant then brought four complaints to the Board in an attempt to enforce the reinstatement decision and to hold those responsible for the application accountable.

The Board dismissed the applicant’s complaints, and the applicant then challenged the validity of the dismissals on the grounds of procedural unfairness and abuse of discretion.

The Court dismissed the application holding that the applicant was afforded procedural fairness by the Board, and that the Board’s dismissal of her complaints an unreasonable exercise of its discretion. Similarly, the Board’s conclusion that it had a statutory discretion to dismiss complaints without deciding their merits in order to avoid a multiplicity of proceedings was not unreasonable.

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