Yashin extends his losing streak in Ontario courts

Arbitration order to stand

Maybe Alexei Yashin is doing no favours for fans of the Ottawa Senators hockey team, but once again he’s given good value to readers of Canadian Employment Law Today.

This time, Yashin, who has become infamous for refusing to honour his employment contract with the Senators, brings home an important basic principle of labour relations:

Generally, an individual unionized employee cannot get a court to review an arbitration decision.

No illegal restraint of trade

That is, only a union can apply for judicial review of rulings made where a collective agreement applies.

Last June, an arbitrator ruled that Yashin owes the Senators the fifth, which is to say the last, year of his contract. Yashin wanted to renegotiate his salary (upwards, of course), and when the cash-strapped Senators demurred, he went walkabout.

Yashin asked the Ontario Superior Court to review the arbitral finding, but Justice Douglas Cunningham has ruled: “Unless the collective agreement itself expressly grants individual employees the right to pursue the matter to arbitration, only the union or the employer may do so...or make an application for judicial review.”

Justice Cunningham also says that there was nothing in the arbitrator’s decision that illegally restrained Yashin’s freedom of contract.

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