Workplace Wire

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Heenan Blaikie on the Winning Side of an Important Constitutional Decision: Federal Court of Appeal Finds That a Local Courier Company Is Not A “Postal Service”


In a decision released yesterday, the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed that a same-day bicycle and pedestrian courier company operating solely in the Greater Toronto Area and with no connections to Canada Post is subject to provincial, not federal, jurisdiction. The Court overturned a decision of the Canada Industrial Relations Board (“CIRB”) to assert jurisdiction over TurnAround Courier, a purely local courier company. The CIRB had determined that TurnAround was providing a “Postal Service” within the meaning of section 91(5) of the Constitution, and was therefore subject to federal jurisdiction in respect of its labour relations.

Heenan Blaikie represented the intervener, Canada Post, before the Federal Court of Appeal.   Canada Post took the position that it is the “Postal Service” referenced in section 91(5) of the Constitution and, therefore, a local courier company with no connections to Canada Post could not properly be characterized as a “Postal Service”. The Federal Court of Appeal agreed.

Yesterday’s decision was an important affirmation of the constitutional principle that labour relations are presumptively a matter of provincial jurisdiction, and should provide valuable assistance to employers, trade unions and adjudicators in addressing future disputes about constitutional jurisdiction.

You can read the Court’s decision here:  Turnaround Couriers Inc., FCA Decision.pdf

We will continue to provide updates on this case.

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