My colleague Rick Bales has recently published an article called Novel Issues in Canadian Labour Arbitration Related to COVID-19. Here’s his summary:
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020-21 changed working conditions for millions of Canadians quickly and dramatically. Employers responded by requiring employees to quarantine, implementing workplace COVID policies, disciplining employees who violated those policies, changing work schedules, cancelling leaves or vacations, and furloughing or laying off employees. Unions have challenged many of these actions, raising a variety of novel issues that are now being resolved through labour arbitration. This article surveys those labour arbitration awards.
It is notable that Arbitrator Bales was able to find enough published arbitration awards to complete this timely work. Canadian arbitration awards are almost always published, either because it is required by law or because the parties have agreed to it as a common practice. This is different than the American model which does not require publication and where the parties are customarily hesitant to have the award published, even if the identifying information is redacted. Arbitrator Bales is collecting American arbitration awards to complete a similar analysis for US labor arbitration and I invite practitioners to consider sharing awards with him so that he can do a comprehensive review.
If you have an arbitration award (published or unpublished) which you would be willing to share with Arbitrator Bales, please send me an email.