The appellant city hired a temporary employee through a personnel agency to work for 6 weeks as a receptionist and then for 18 weeks as a clerk. During the two work assignments, the employee’s wages were determined and paid by the agency, which submitted an invoice to the city. The employee performed her work under the direction and supervision of a manager working for the city. The general working conditions, such as hours of work, breaks and statutory holidays, were dictated by the city. If the employee had not been qualified or had experienced problems in adapting, the city would have informed the agency, which would have taken the appropriate action. The respondent union, which holds the certification certificate for most of the city’s employees, submitted a request to the office of the labour commissioner general under s. 39 of the Labour Code seeking, inter alia, to have the temporary employee included in the union’s bargaining unit. The labour commissioner found that the city was the employee’s real employer during the two assignments and granted the union’s request. On appeal, the Labour Court affirmed the decision. It acknowledged that the agency recruited, assigned positions to, evaluated, disciplined and paid the temporary employees, but concluded that the city was the real employer by focusing on the question of which party had control over the temporary employee’s working conditions and the performance of her work. The Labour Court also noted that there was a relationship of legal subordination between the city and the employee because the city’s managers directed and supervised how she did her day‑to‑day work. The Superior Court dismissed the motion in evocation brought by the city, finding that the Labour Court’s decision was not patently unreasonable. The Court of Appeal affirmed that judgment in a majority decision.
Held (L’Heureux‑Dubé J. dissenting): The appeal should be dismissed.
Per Lamer C.J. and La Forest,...
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