Alberta: Picketing of Employee Residences
The Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench recently considered the matter of picketing of employee residences in Telus Communications Inc. v. Telecommunications Workers Union, 2005 ABQB 719. I recently posted on this issue as it had been dealt with by the BC Supreme Court.
Telus brought on a motion to amend the original injunction to prohibit picketing of employee residences on the same basis that the order had been granted in the BC case.
The Alberta QB Court distinguished the situation before it from the BC case in that the Alberta conduct was not as egregious as the BC conduct. In addition, Madam Justice Hughes disagreed with Justice Burnyeat of the BC Supreme Court stating:
Beyond that, however, I can not agree with Burnyeat J.â€™s view at para. 19 that â€œ… picketing of homes is merely an unlawful interference with the personâ€™s enjoyment of his or her ownership or occupation of property.â€ In my view the Supreme Court of Canada in Pepsi-Cola, held that picketing at private residences is prima facie legal, provided that there is no unlawful conduct associated therewith.
The Alberta QB Court held that Telus could not enjoin picketing of its employees’ residences because the conduct did not affect the business operations of Telus in an actionable manner. The Court went on to state that the indvidual employees whose residences were picketed could ask for an injunction and commented that such a process would be duplicative of the present hearing. The Court also noted that the TWU agreed that its members should not be committing trespass or make excessive noise.
The Court then amended the original injunction as follows:
Residential picketing of the homes of all Telus employees is limited to the
hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
- There is to be no contact with children of the Telus employees when
picketing occurs as stated above;
- Picketers must be at least 5 feet on either side of any entrance or exit to the
residence of any Telus employee picketed;
- There will be no excessive noise, shouting or swearing;
- Picketing will be limited to no more than 4 picketers; and
- No trespassing, including no littering.
Although it appears that the two sides to this dispute are moving toward a resolution of the job action, the case is interesting for the purpose of comparing the approach taken by the BC and Alberta Courts on the matter of residential picketing.