‘Outlier’ cases limit Quebec employer freedom of speech

Recent decisions on interference interpret restrictions more broadly than in the past
By Danielle Harder
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 06/17/2011

Two recent decisions by the Commission des Relations du Travail, Quebec’s labour relations board, “unfairly” restrict an employer’s right to freedom of speech, according to Montreal lawyer Gabriel Granatstein with the firm Norton Rose.

The first decision stems from a meeting between a Matane, Que., homecare service provider and its workers. The session was voluntary and covered topics ranging from apprenticeship programs to the upcoming Christmas party. The tenor of the meeting changed, however, when a unionized worker asked the CEO for an update on negotiations.

The CEO deferred the question to the vice-president of the union who chose not to respond. As a result, the president of the board of directors and the CEO informed employees of the status of talks themselves, and mentioned that it was the union that decided to suspend negotiations.