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Syndicat de l’enseignement du Grand-Portage v. Morency, [2000] 2 S.C.R. 913


Commission scolaire de Rivière-du-Loup                                        Appellant




Syndicat de l’enseignement du Grand-Portage                                Respondent




Jean M. Morency        Mis en cause


Indexed as:  Syndicat de l’enseignement du Grand-Portage v. Morency


Neutral citation:  2000 SCC 62.


File No.:  27003.


2000:  December 11.  


Present:  L’Heureux‑Dubé, Gonthier, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour and LeBel JJ.


on appeal from the court of appeal for quebec


Labour law -- Collective agreement – Arbitral award – Judicial review -- Standard of patently unreasonable error -- Arbitrator’s award containing no error justifying intervention of superior court.


APPEAL from a judgment of the Quebec Court of Appeal, [1998] Q.J. No. 3157 (QL), J.E. 98-2357, D.T.E. 98T-1212, affirming a judgment of the Superior Court, rendered May 19, 1995, granting the respondent’s application for judicial review of an arbitral award.  Appeal allowed.


Jean-Claude Girard, Pierre Bégin and Daniel Bourgeois, for the appellant.


Linda Lavoie and Annie Laprade, for the respondent.


English version of the judgment of the Court delivered orally by


1                                   LeBel J.This appeal raises the problem of the proper application of the appropriate standard of judicial review.  That standard remained, as the parties recognize, the standard of patently unreasonable error.  It is clear from a reading of the arbitrator’s award that it contains no error that would justify the intervention of the superior courts when such a standard is applied, as it should be.  The award is based on an interpretation of the collective agreement, which is itself based on certain of its provisions as well as on their situation in the overall context of the employer’s powers with respect to assignment of teaching staff and organization of teaching in schools within its territory.  The arbitrator’s approach also takes into account the education legislation which provides the framework for the school board’s powers in this matter.


2                                   In these circumstances, although the provisions of the agreement in issue were open to various interpretations, the Superior Court should have dismissed the application for judicial review.  There was  a rationality in the arbitrator’s award which meant that it could not be challenged before the court.


3                                   For these reasons, the Court allows the appeal, sets aside the decision of the Court of Appeal and the judgment of the Superior Court and dismisses the respondent’s application for judicial review with costs.


Judgment accordingly.


Solicitors for the appellant:  Pothier Delisle, Sainte-Foy.


Solicitors for the respondent:  Cain, Lamarre, Casgrain, Wells, Québec.





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