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Bell Canada v Quebec, [1988] 1 SCR 749

Facts:

Bell and the union agreed that a pregnant employee had a choice of applying for unpaid leave or being assigned other duties. Already determined that it is fed jurisdiction – this is not the issue here

Ratio:

The rule is that valid provincial laws of general application can apply to a federal work or undertaking, unless the application of these laws would impair the vital or essential elements of these undertakings.

Management is an essential vital part of a fed undertaking– so feds have jurisdiction over labour relations of fed undertakings, so prov labour relations cannot apply bc it would affect/impair fed essential element.
**Once determined something is a fed undertaking – feds control labour relations, this affects management, which is a vital element

Analysis:

In principle, labour relations and working conditions fall within the exclusive jurisdiction of the provincial legislatures: these matters fall into the class of subjects mentioned in s. 92(13) – BUT
**Parliament is vested w/ exclusive legislative jurisdiction over labour relations and working conditions when that jurisdiction is an integral part of its primary and exclusive jurisdiction over another class of subjects

The Act aims at and regulates the management and operations of an undertaking under its jurisdiction in two ways:
1. Act creates a system of partial co management of the undertaking by the workers and the employer.
2. While the health and safety of workers are the objectives of the Act, it is addressed primarily to the manager of an undertaking

Comments:

The exclusivity rule approved by Bell Canada 1966 does not apply only to labour relations or to federal undertakings. It is one facet of a more general rule against making works, things or persons under the special and exclusive jurisdiction of Parliament subject to provincial legislation, when such application would bear on the specifically federal nature of the jurisdiction to which such works, things or persons are subject


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