The recent decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board
("Board") in UNITE HERE Local 75 v Richtree Markets
Inc. 2014 CanLII 647 demonstrates that an address contained in
the bargaining unit description of a collective agreement's
recognition clause may not restrict the bargaining rights to that
specific location. Instead, the address may be viewed by the Board
as only a description of the location, with arguably broader union
rights being in place.
Richtree Markets Inc. ("Richtree") operated a restaurant
located in Toronto Eaton Centre. The UNITE HERE Local 75 Union (the
"Union") had bargaining rights at the restaurant and a
collective agreement which originally stated that they applied to
Richtree at the Eaton Centre, Toronto. However, in 2006 the
bargaining unit description and recognition clause were amended.
The amended bargaining unit description added an address to the
Richtree location stating that the agreement applied between the
Union and Richtree at "Eaton Centre: 220 Yonge Street,
Toronto". Similarly, the recognition clause was amended to
state that it was for all employees of Richtree located at
"the Eaton Centre, 220 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON".
Neither the Union nor Richtree produced witnesses who were involved
in the 2006 negotiations to help explain the purpose of the
In January 2013, Richtree closed the restaurant and in September of
the same year opened a new restaurant in Toronto Eaton Centre
located about 50 metres away from the original location. The new
restaurant's address differs from the former one as it is
located at 14 Queen Street West. The new address was obtained by
the mall operator at the request of Richtree.
Richtree claimed that the bargaining rights did not continue to the
new location because the collective agreement was confined to
"220 Yonge Street". The Union argued that its bargaining
rights applied, without limitation, to the Eaton Centre and the
address was only placed in the bargaining unit description to
distinguish it from other locations.
Labour Board: Bargaining Rights Continued
The Board examined the relevant evidence it and concluded that the
address reference in the collective agreement was not meant to
limit the application of the Union's bargaining rights at the
Eaton Centre but was instead included to help describe the
property. The Board reached its decision on the basis that:
Both the Eaton Centre and its owner Cadillac Fairview publicly
represented on their websites that the Eaton Centre is located at
220 Yonge Street;
Restaurants that were located in Richtree's new location
had in the past used 220 Yonge Street as their address; and
The business card of the General Manager of the former Richtree
restaurant listed the address as "220 Yonge Street, Eaton
Centre" helping the Board to draw an inference that the
address was used to describe the Eaton Centre.
The Board also noted that the address of the new location, 14
Queen Street West, only seemed to exist "on a piece of
paper" because at the time of the decision it could not be
accessed from the street nor were there any signs.
Key Takeaway for Employers
This case provides helpful guidance about the scope of bargaining
rights in the event of a change of location of a business. Should
employers want to limit the bargaining rights to a particular
address, the collective agreement must specifically state that the
bargaining rights are limited, and the evidence must support this.
Adding an address beside the name of the location does not
necessarily clearly establish that the bargaining rights are
restricted to that location and the Board may find that the address
is only a description of the location.
The foregoing provides only an overview and does not
constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any
decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal
advice should be obtained.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
On October 13, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada denied leave to appeal an Ontario Court of Appeal decision which ordered an employer to pay a former employee 37 months of salary and benefits following termination.
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