A federal labour board has dismissed yet another complaint about unions accepting vaccine mandates — adding to the list of courts and boards to follow suit since COVID entered its endemic phase.
The Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board rejected the latest grievance filed against the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) on a "technical basis," according to arbitrators.
"The complaint is untimely," wrote Amélie Lavictoire, an adjudicator with the board, as the applicant filed their grievance four months late.
According to the Public Service Labour Relations Act, federal employees have 90 days to file complaints. Therefore, the arbitrators ruled PSAC acted in good faith in accepting mandates.
PSAC, the largest federal union, wrote in a 2022 submission to the board that legally challenging vaccine mandates had "little chance of success," as most of its 230,000 members complied with the federal vaccine mandate imposed on November 15, 2021.
Enforcement ended last June, reported Blacklock's Reporter.
"It determined a legal challenge would have little chance of success and that the most effective way to represent members would be on a case-by-case basis," the Board wrote in a separate appeal.
"The Public Service Alliance stated it made a detailed, in-depth review of the policy and took account of the case law and applicable legal principles. It conducted an in-depth review of several options to challenge the policy."
The board concluded that challenging the policy through a grievance or other legal mechanism stood little chance of success.
"It was decided the best approach would be to handle files case by case," wrote the Board.
According to Blacklock's Reporter, provincial labour boards have also dismissed challenges by union members claiming a lack of representation in opposing vaccine mandates.
On January 11, the Alberta Labour Relations Board said, "unions acted in good faith."
"Nothing in the material before the Board indicates the union acted arbitrarily, with serious negligence or in bad faith," it said, dismissing member complaints against the Natural Gas Employees Association and Canadian Energy Workers' Association.
The Alberta Board noted most workers agreed to show proof of vaccination under employers' mandates, with most citing "their right to a safe workplace."
With no federal legislation banning mandatory disclosure of personal medical information as a pandemic precaution, opposition leader Pierre Poilievre introduced a private bill to prohibit the practice last June 2.
"I call on all Members of Parliament to end this discrimination," Poilievre told the Commons. "Give people back control of their medical decisions and their bodies by passing this bill."
Bill C-278, An Act To Prevent The Imposition By The Federal Government Of Vaccination Mandates For Employment And Travel, would prohibit any requirement for proof of vaccination as a condition of federal employment or public access to federally-regulated transportation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously described mandate critics as extremists.
"These are extremists who don't believe in science," he said on September 16, 2021. "They are often misogynists, also often racists."