It took 86 words and less than 90 minutes for the Supreme Court of Canada to put an end to a six-year old court case that, if successful, might have disrupted for years the lives of nearly 2,000 municipal employees across the country.
“It is not necessary to hear from counsel for the appellant or the interveners,” Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin explained in a unanimous ruling on June 23, ending an application by the Public Service Alliance of Canada that might have forced hundreds of municipal workers to re-apply for their own jobs at local detachments of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and become federal employees.
Explaining the issue in a letter to CUPE members last year, national president Paul Moist wrote: “(the Public Service Alliance of Canada) claimed that civilian employees providing support to the RCMP were federal civil servants. The federal government opposed PSAC’s claim.”
Approximately 185 municipalities across Canada have agreements with the federal government for the RCMP to provide police services in their communities. CUPE represents workers in about 95 of those communities, although it is unclear how many of its members might actually have been affected.
“We are pleased to tell you that we were successful in the Supreme Court of Canada,” CUPE told its members shortly after the Court’s decision. “The appeal was allowed today. Municipal employees who provide support services to the RCMP under municipal policing contracts will not become federal public servants represented by PSAC.”