Substituting remedy for reinstatement

Supreme Court of Canada decision confirms arbitration boards can award damages in exceptional cases
By Todd Humber
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Arbitrators have the power to award damages in lieu of reinstatement in exceptional cases, according to a recent decision by the Supreme Court of Canada.

“As a general rule, where a grievor’s collective agreement rights have been violated, reinstatement of the grievor to her previous position will normally be ordered,” wrote Justice Frank Iacobucci on behalf of the court. “Departure from this position should only occur where the arbitration board’s findings reflect concerns that the employment relationship is no longer viable.”