Transportation Law News

December 11, 2009

Top court settles pivotal freight forwarding-logistics case

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has ruled on a critical case that could change how some freight forwarders, logistics companies, and hybrid highway carriers are governed under provincial and federal law.

The Supreme Court effectively reversed a 1994 decision of the Canada Industrial Relations Board, which deemed that freight forwarders fall under federal employment standards if they physically “handle” interprovincial freight, regardless of the localized structure of their networks or whether or not they transport cargo from one jurisdiction to another.

As such, national and international freight forwarders formerly regarded as subject to federal labor law may now fall under provincial law; and those that already operated under the latter standard may remain that way, including the ability to maintain local union shops without interference from larger, national unions.

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