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MUNASA Special Bulletin - December 20, 2023

Dear members,

 

As you no doubt will remember, MUNASA filed judicial proceedings in June 2023 against the University to contest its decision to unilaterally amend the following Personnel policies effective June 1, 2023:

 

-        Parental Leaves Policy

 

MUNASA believes McGill breached MUNASA’s freedom of association protected in the Quebec Human Rights Charter, which includes our right to conduct good faith bargaining with the University. MUNASA further believes that McGill’s unilateral decision to slash into the adoption leave constitutes a violation of the adopting parents’ right not to be discriminated on the basis of their civil status.

 

Because of the seriousness of the situation, MUNASA asked the Superior Court of Quebec to issue a “stay order”, i.e. an order in which the 3 policies in question be immediately suspended for the duration of the legal proceedings, which are expected to be lengthy.

 

McGill replied with an application to dismiss our legal proceedings in their entirety.

 

The hearing on our application for a stay order and on McGill’s application to dismiss took place on Monday, December 11th, and we received the judgment on Friday, December 15th.

 

While MUNASA is disappointed the Superior Court did not issue the stay order that we sought, we are very pleased that the Court indicated that we had “easily demonstrated” that there are serious questions to be tried, and noted the admission that MUNASA and its members do indeed enjoy the protection of the constitutional freedom of association although MUNASA is not a union governed by the Quebec Labour Code. It is in this context to easily understand why the Court had, at the beginning of the hearing on Monday, December 11th, summarily rejected McGill’s application to dismiss, which naturally MUNASA was also very pleased about.

 

It is also worth noting that the Court did conclude that McGill’s decision to unilaterally reduce the adoption leave caused “serious or irreparable harm” to adopting parents, although the stay was not granted because of the Court’s conclusion that it would cause greater inconvenience to the University rather than to MUNASA.

 

In summary, the Superior Court indicated that:

 

  1. MUNASA easily demonstrated that the issues it raises are serious;

  2. MUNASA and its members enjoy the protection of the constitutional freedom of association;

  3. The University’s decision regarding the Parental Leaves Policy causes serious or irreparable harm to adopting parents.

 

This is significant progress since McGill’s reply to our first words of protest in June, where MUNASA was told by the (then) Vice-Principal (Administration and Finance) that our “reference to collective bargaining is irrelevant” since McGill “discusses” but “does not bargain”.

 

MUNASA is hopeful that the University will understand reason and demonstrate good faith by voluntarily suspending its reduction of the adoption leave for the duration of the legal proceedings. Not doing so would unquestionably be perpetuating the serious and irreparable harm to adopting parents. Surely the University does not want to persist after such clear indications by the Superior Court.

 

Rest assured that MUNASA will not waiver and will continue to represent our collective interests with dedication and professionalism.

 

The MUNASA Executive


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