Manitoba Court of Appeal reinstates Arbitrator’s Decision regarding Premium Pay

In a recent decision, the Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned a decision of the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench and reinstated the award of Arbitrator William Hamilton in a case involving 65 grievances related to Premium Pay. Arbitrator Hamilton had ruled that employees at the Winnipeg Airport Authority were entitled to earn both the Weekend Premium and Shift Premium for evening hours worked on the weekend.

In overturning the Court below, the Manitoba Court of Appeal concluded that the payment of the two premiums, which the arbitrator found were for different purposes, did not violate the collective agreement provisions against “pyramiding”. In reaching this conclusion, the Court of Appeal found that the Applications Judge had failed to give sufficient deference to the arbitrator and erred in concluding that paying both premiums for the same hours worked was synonymous with pyramiding. In this regard, the Court of Appeal upheld the Arbitrator’s conclusion that, as at common law, the presumption against pyramiding is rebutted when the premium payments are for different purposes.

This ruling represents an important victory for Public Service Alliance of Canada members at the Winnipeg Airport Authority, who since 2012 have been improperly denied payment of both these premiums for work performed on evenings during weekend. 

The Public Service Alliance of Canada was represented by Andrew Astritis of Raven, Cameron, Ballantyne & Yazbeck LLP/s.r.l.