Administrative tribunals do not have to consider and comment upon every issue raised by the parties in their reasons. For reviewing courts, the issue remains whether the decision, viewed as a whole in the context of the record, is reasonable.

27. December 2012 0

Administrative law – Decisions of administrative tribunals – Labour and employment boards – Labour law – Collective agreements – Judicial review – Compliance with legislation – Failure to provide reasons – Standard of review – Reasonableness simpliciter

Construction Labour Relations v. Driver Iron Inc., [2012] S.C.J. No. 65, 2012 SCC 65, Supreme Court of Canada, November 29, 2012, McLachlin C.J. and LeBel, Abella, Rothstein, Cromwell, Moldaver and Karakatsanis JJ.

In this case, an Alberta Association appealed from a judgment of the Alberta Court of Appeal that allowed an appeal from a judgment dismissing an application for judicial review. The Court of Appeal quashed a decision of the Alberta Labour Relations Board. At issue before the Board was whether a registered employers’ organization and a union party to a registered employers’ organization collective agreement could pick and choose which of its provisions they wished to adopt or whether, having agreed to be bound to some of its provisions, they would be bound by the entirety of the registered employers’ organization collective agreement. The Board concluded that the parties were bound by the entire collective agreement. The Court of Appeal found that the Board failed to give proper consideration to the interplay between certain sections of the Labour Relations Code (the “Code”) and to the different meanings that could be ascribed to these provisions.

The Supreme Court of Canada found that the Board considered the relevant provisions of the Code and the facts presented to it by the parties. Its interpretation of the Code and its conclusions were reasonable. Its decision was entitled to deference. The Board did not have to explicitly address all possible shades of meaning of the provisions. For reviewing courts, the issue remains whether the decision, viewed as a whole in the context of the record, is reasonable. The Supreme Court of Canada allowed the appeal thereby setting aside the judgment of Albert Court of Appeal judgment and restoring the judgment of the Court of Queen’s Bench. Costs were also awarded to the Alberta Association.

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