Court upholds arbitrator’s imposition of 24-hour shift for firefighters, despite city’s safety concerns
Inside a previous publish, we reported that the arbitrator had recognized a union’s request to impose 24-hour shifts for that Town of St. Catharines’ firefighters, regardless of its safety concerns.
A court has upheld the arbitrator’s decision. A legal court held the city’s concerns about safety and health risks and operational factors weren’t based on proof of actual issues with 24-hour shifts. A legal court also made the decision it had become cost effective for the arbitrator to think about it that 82% of firefighters had “adopted and/or adapted to” the 24-hour shift, despite the fact that just one third of fireside services had adopted the 24-hour shift. (It was because most of the largest fire services had adopted the 24-hour shift quite a few the smaller sized fire services hadn’t).
Evidence prior to the arbitrator was that firefighters in St. Catharines had become uninterrupted sleep during 80% of the night shifts. Further, evidence recommended that it might be rare that the firemen wouldn’t have any sleep throughout a 24-hour shift. As a result, the arbitrator made the decision the city’s concern that firefighters could be sleep deprived, which the lack of sleep would compromise safety, wasn’t justified.
The Organization of St. Catharines v The St. Catharines Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, 2015 ONSC 6046 (CanLII)