Ruling could paralyze Canada's human rights process: union

Supreme Court hears Bell Canada's arguments on why the human rights tribunal should not hear pay equity case
||Last Updated: 01/27/2003

The union representing Bell Canada’s operators said staff have been “on hold” long enough and the phone company should pay up.

Brian Payne, president of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) made the comments as the Supreme Court heard arguments from Bell whether or not the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal can hear the case.

According to the union, Bell Canada is arguing it can’t get a fair hearing before the tribunal to settle the pay equity dispute with 4,000 operators because the tribunal isn’t independent or impartial. Only about 400 are still employed by Bell. On May 24, 2001, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed Bell’s objections, ruling the tribunal was in fact independent and impartial.