City asks for a judicial review on fire interest arbitration award

Guelph, Ont., March 6, 2017 — On February 21, 2017, the City of Guelph received the board’s decision on the interest arbitration between the City and the Guelph Professional Fire Fighters Association (GPFFA).

The arbitrator awarded Guelph firefighters a 7.47 per cent increase in wages over three years (2.75% for 2015, 2.47% for 2016, and 2.25% in 2017), as well as a 1.99 per cent increase in benefits.

The City respects the arbitration board’s authority to render its award, but the law provides that judicial review of an arbitral award is available in the appropriate circumstances.

The City has reviewed the award and believes that this is an appropriate case to apply to the court for judicial review of the arbitral award.

“Our application for judicial review is based on ensuring that the arbitration process was fair and that the award is reasonable according to the law,” said Derrick Thomson, chief administrative officer for the City of Guelph. “We value the work of our firefighters and want the award to be fair to them; we also want to ensure that the arbitration process is fair to both parties and that the outcome is justified.”

A judicial review does not necessarily mean that the award will be changed; that decision will be in the hands of the court.

“The City’s decision to apply for a judicial review is appropriate to highlight the need for fair processes, procedures and outcomes to all parties, including taxpayers,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie.

The City started negotiations with the GPFFA in 2014 in hopes of reaching a collective agreement that was fair to firefighters, but also fair to the City’s other employees and reflects the collective agreements that have been ratified with other employee groups.

For more information

Derrick Thomson
Chief Administrative Officer
City of Guelph
519-837-5602
cao@guelph.ca