2017 OHSTC 4

Date: 2017-03-27

File No.: 2017-02

Between:

Brink’s Canada Limited, applicant (appellant in the appeal)

and

Michael Childs and Unifor, respondents

Reference: Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Childs and Unifor

Matter: Application for a stay of a direction issued by an Official Delegated by the Minister of Labour

Decision: The application for a stay is granted

Decision rendered by: Mr. Pierre Hamel, Appeals Officer

Language of the decision: English

For the applicant: Mr. James D. Henderson, Counsel, Grosman, Grosman & Gale LLP

For the respondents: Ms. Niki Lundquist, Associate Counsel, Unifor Legal Department

Citation: 2017 OHSTC 4

Reasons

[1] These reasons concern an application brought under subsection 146(2) of the Canada Labour Code (the Code) for a stay of a direction issued by Mr. Lewis Jenkins, in his capacity as Official Delegated by the Minister of Labour (Ministerial Delegate) on December 29, 2016, in Ottawa. The direction was issued against Brink’s Canada Limited (“Brink’s” or “the employer”) pursuant to subsection 145(2) of the Code further to Mr. Jenkins’ finding of danger.

Background

[2] On November 10, 2016, Mr. Jenkins conducted an investigation into a work refusal initiated by Mr. Michael Childs. Mr. Childs is an employee with Brinks’ armoured car services with the Ottawa Branch of the employer. The refusal took place at the CIBC Hawkesbury stop of the run on which Mr. Childs was assigned.

[3] After inquiring into the circumstances of the refusal, Mr. Jenkins informed the employer, on December 29, 2016, of his finding of danger and of his direction, issued on the same day. The direction reads as follows:

IN THE MATTER OF THE CANADA LABOUR CODE

PART II - OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY

DIRECTION TO THE EMPLOYER UNDER SUBSECTION 145(2)(a)

On November 10, 2016, the undersigned official delegated by the Minister of Labour conducted an investigation following a refusal to work made by Michael Childs in the work place operated by BRINK’S CANADA LIMITED, being an employer subject to the Canada Labour Code, Part II, at 2755 Lancaster Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1B 4V8, the said work place being sometimes known as Brink’s Canada Limited.

The said official delegated by the Minister of Labour considers that the performance of an activity constitutes a danger to an employee while at work:

The “All Off” model that is currently being used (in which the driver/guard exits the armoured vehicle and escorts the messenger carrying the valuables, into customer locations for drop-offs and pick-ups) does not sufficiently mitigate against the danger of employees being assaulted during a robbery attempt. The model does not provide the employees with any information of suspicious persons or activities occurring outside while they are inside the customer’s location. As a result, the employees have a diminished ability to avoid potential ambush upon returning to the armoured vehicle.

Although the direction issued and the measures identified in the appeals officer’s stay were in regards to the Edmonton location, the all off model is being implemented throughout its organization. At the Ottawa location, the employer has failed to apply the five measures identified in the appeals officer’s stay decision (2016-34) of October 26, 2016 in which Appeals Officer Olivier Bellavigna-Ladoux agreed that those measures would serve to protect the employees’ health and safety while performing the “All Off” model that is currently being used pending the decision of the appeal for the direction issued at the Edmonton location.

Therefore, you are HEREBY DIRECTED, pursuant to paragraph 145(2)(a) of the Canada Labour Code, Part II, to alter the activity that constitutes the danger immediately.

Issued at Ottawa, this 29th day of December, 2016.

[signed]

Lewis Jenkins

Official Delegated by the Minister of Labour

[…]

[4] Described succinctly, the “All Off” delivery model is comprised of a two-person crew where both crew members exit the armoured car and enter customer locations to drop-off or pick-up valuables. After the completion of the work, both crew members return to the vehicle together, based on specific protocols developed for that delivery model.

[5] The employer appealed the direction and filed its Notice of Appeal with the Occupational Health and Safety Tribunal Canada (Tribunal) on January 11, 2017. The Notice included the present Application for a stay of the direction, and argument supporting the Application. In the meantime, the Tribunal was informed that Unifor would be representing the respondent Mr. Childs, in the appeal proceedings and on the Application for a stay.

[6] Counsel for the parties participated in a teleconference hearing of the Application, on February 22, 2017, and presented oral submissions regarding the Application. During the course of the teleconference, counsel for the respondent, Ms. Niki Lundquist, indicated that she had not been provided with a copy of the employer’s written submissions in support of the Application. A copy was immediately e-mailed to her. I allowed Ms. Lundquist’s request to present written submissions in response to the employer’s Application, given that she had just obtained a copy of it. The respondent’s submissions were filed with the Tribunal on February 24, 2017, and the employer’s reply submissions were filed on March 1, 2017.

[7] On March 3, 2017, the Tribunal’s Registrar informed the parties of my decision to grant the stay, under certain conditions that are set out later in these reasons. The following are the reasons in support of my decision.

Analysis

[8] The authority of an appeals officer to grant a stay of a direction is founded in subsection 146(2) of the Code:

146 (2). Unless otherwise ordered by an appeals officer on application by the employer, employee or trade union, an appeal of a direction does not operate as a stay of the direction.

[9] Appeals officers have considerable discretion in determining whether a stay should be granted. Such discretion must be exercised in a way that supports the objectives of the Code and largely depends of the context in which the direction is issued and its impact on the employer’s operations. I agree with counsel for the employer that the test used by appeals officers to exercise their discretion for a stay of direction is now well established in the Tribunal’s jurisprudence: see S.G.T. 2000 Inc. v. Teamsters Quebec, local 106, 2012 OHSTC 15, at para. 5. Originally derived from the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Metropolitan stores (MTS) Ltd. v. Manitoba Food & Commercial Workers, Local 832, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 110, the test has been applied in a manner that furthers the objectives of the Code. The elements of the test are as follows:

  • 1) the applicant must satisfy the appeals officer that the question to be tried
    is serious as opposed to frivolous or vexatious;
  • 2) the applicant must demonstrate that it would suffer significant
    harm if the direction is not stayed by the appeals officer; and
  • 3) the applicant must demonstrate that should a stay be granted, measures will
    be put in place to protect the health and safety of employees or any person granted access to the work place.

[10] I should also point out that a stay of a direction should only be granted exceptionally and in compelling circumstances where the direction is issued pursuant to paragraph 145(2)(a) of the Code, i.e. after a Ministerial Delegate makes a finding of danger. In the final analysis, each case must be assessed on its particular facts, context and merits. It must also be recognized that the decision on the Application occurs at a very early stage of the proceeding and does not rest on evidence formally introduced before the appeals officer, but rather on the statements of the parties in their submissions.

[11] In the present case, the employer’s argument in support of its Application for a stay largely mirrors the arguments it presented to Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux in Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura, 2016 OHSTC 18, and finds support in the decision rendered in that case, which involves the same Applicant, Brink’s. The appeals officer granted the stay based on considerations that are, upon review, very similar if not identical to the present case. I note however, as Ms. Lundquist pointed out during the teleconference, that the respondent in that case was not represented by his Union, in that case the Teamsters, nor by counsel, and offered little opposition to the Application. In the present case, the respondent vigorously opposes the Application for a stay.

Is the question to be tried serious as opposed to frivolous or vexatious?

[12] Regarding this first element of the test, there is no dispute between the parties that the appeal raises a serious issue to be tried. I share this view. The threshold to meet this requirement successfully is fairly low and I am satisfied that the appeal raises genuine and important issues for the parties, and is neither frivolous nor vexatious.

[13] First, the appeal raises the application of the new definition of “danger” that came into force on October 31, 2014, to the operations of Brink’s and the significant impact of the direction on Brinks’ operations. It also raises the far-reaching issue of whether the employer’s “All Off” delivery model adopted by Brink’s represents, in and of itself, a danger for employees in light of this definition. Finally, I find no reason to differ from Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux’s view, who considered essentially the same facts and arguments as those in the present case, and found that the appeal filed in Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura raised serious matters to be determined on the merits.

[14] I therefore conclude that the applicant has satisfied the first element of the test.

Would the applicant suffer significant harm if the direction is not stayed?

[15] The second element of the test is often the most difficult to satisfy for an Applicant.

Applicant’s submissions

[16] The Applicant refers to the decision in Bell Mobility Inc. (Re), 2012 OHSTC 4, where the appeals officer granted the stay where he was persuaded that the direction would cause a widespread disruption in the company’s operations and therefore would be prejudicial to those who relied on its services.

[17] The Applicant submits that one of Brinks’ core functions is to provide ATM and cash management services (the “ATM Services”). Banks, retailers and other commercial and governmental agencies throughout Canada rely on Brink’s to replenish and pick up ATM deposits or commercial deposits from night depositories. These deposits are then brought back to Brinks’ secured premises for consolidation and processing by Brink’s Canada Cash Logistics or delivered to the customers designated location.

[18] Brink’s currently carries out the ATM Services at night exclusively using the “All Off” crew. There is no other company that can provide the ATM Services to Brinks’ customers other than Brink’s. This is due to the fact that it exclusively controls the access to the many ATM and night depositories. Its inability to employ the “All Off” crew will therefore undoubtedly impact its ability to provide the ATM Services. This, in turn, will negatively impact its customers. On a large scale level, cash and coin in circulation will be affected by a reduction in service to the banking industry.

[19] The Applicant further stresses that all of the electronic locks on the ATMs and night depositories are owned, maintained and managed by Brink’s. All of the locks are loaded onto an electronic network controlled by Brink’s that generates random combinations daily for each lock. Each combination is exclusive to Brink’s and the National Control Centre generates a one-time code that allows its employees to be the sole access granted to the ATM or night safe. Brink’s also provides exclusive access to bank staff through the Brink’s proprietary control system. This system is centrally controlled in the Brink’s Control Centre in Toronto which issues combinations for locks across the country.

[20] If there is a change in service provider, the locks would have to be removed from all ATMs and night depositories in order for Garda (Brinks’ main competitor) to install their proprietary locks. This process would take several weeks and cost both companies thousands of dollars. There would be an obvious service disruption for Brinks’ clients during this significant undertaking. Should this occur there is a very likely possibility that the work would not return to Brink’s for several years.

[21] The Applicant points out that in the event that Brink’s loses this business, it will lose it to a competitor who has operated an inferior “All Off” model for over a decade across Canada and who would maintain an unfair pricing advantage in the two-competitor market by being able to compete with Brink’s operating a two-person as opposed to a three-person crew. Such a result would be particularly problematic and somewhat ironic in that there is little doubt that the Brinks’ “All Off” model is, in Brinks’ opinion, a superior model to Garda’s “All Off” model and rather than making the industry safer, the effect of the Ministerial Delegate’s order (if not stayed) would have the opposite result.

[22] Brink’s further submits that the financial costs not only to Brink’s but to the entire industry in complying with the Direction are substantial and not of the same order as a mere inconvenience. In City of Ottawa (OC Transpo) v. Norman MacDuff, 2013 OHSTC 27, and Quebec Port Terminals Inc. v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1375, 2012 OHSTC 40, the Tribunal noted that the prospect of the applicant incurring considerable costs warranted consideration in the determination of whether the employer would suffer significant harm.

[23] Nationwide, this cost is $4 million per year and would put a halt to future expansion of the model in the two largest markets, Ontario and BC placing it at a complete competitive disadvantage in the market. Brinks’ move to an “All Off” model was, in part, financially motivated and these costs will over time significantly compromise its operations. In Ottawa, Brink’s was going to implement a total of nine runs that were going to be phased in completely by February 15, 2017. The direction issued by Mr. Jenkins has prevented this, placing Brink’s in the position of having incurred costs to introduce the “All Off” model with no results in Ottawa and continuing to incur additional costs by not implementing the “All Off” model while its competitor uses their model.

[24] Brink’s submits that based on all of the above, there can be no dispute that it would suffer significant harm if the stay is not granted. There is simply no reason not to apply the decision of Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux in Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura, in the present identical situation.

Respondent’s submissions

[25] The Respondent takes the position that the Applicant has not shown that the harm it will suffer is sufficient to meet the requirements of the second part of the Tribunal’s test for granting a stay. Moreover, the Respondent takes the position that the harm employees will suffer if they are required to perform unsafe work outweighs any harm experienced by Brink’s.

[26] The respondent disputes the assertion that declining to grant the stay will cause disruption to the industry. Brink’s continues to exercise its core functions and continues to provide ATM and cash management services (the “ATM Services”) to banks, retailers and other commercial and governmental agencies. Currently Brink’s does not use “All Off” crews to perform this work in Ottawa or at any of the 13 other Ontario Branches covered by a letter of understanding between Unifor and Brink’s. Nor does it use “All Off” model in Manitoba or British Columbia. Rather, it uses a combination of 2 (1 Man Off) and 3 (2 Man Off) person crews.

[27] The respondent disputes Brinks’ argument that if there was a change in service provider there would be a disruption in service, but fails to observe that it continues to provide service to its existing customer base using the same model of work that it was using prior to its attempt to introduce the “All Off” model. There is no evidence on the record, whatsoever, that Garda would suddenly usurp Brink’s work. The assertions are entirely speculative, entirely unsupported by any objective, factual record.

[28] Regarding the alleged competitive disadvantage that Brink’s would suffer if the stay is not granted, the respondent notes that Garda and Brink’s have operated side-by-side in the industry for many years and Brink’s has retained a superior economic position while operating the safe, three-man crewing model. Simply put, Brink’s cannot boldly assert that adoption of the unsafe “All Off” model is required to be competitive when it has not been using the model for many years and it remains more than competitive with Garda, its primary competitor. The prejudice it claims to suffer is more in the nature of potential costs savings. The Tribunal has consistently held that financial costs alone are an insufficient basis for granting a stay pending an appeal (para. 31 of Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura).

[29] The respondent stresses that Brink’s adopted the “All Off” model in Ottawa knowing that concerns about the model being inherently dangerous had been expressed at both the Ottawa Branch and at the National Policy Committee. It did so knowing that a Ministerial Delegate in Edmonton had issued a direction declaring the “All Off” model unsafe and without regard to the appeals officer’s decision in the Edmonton case that required Brink’s to comply with five measures that would, in the view of the appeals officer, decrease the danger inherent to the model.

[30] While acknowledging that these questions more properly relate to the merits of the appeal, the respondent points out that the work of armoured guard has inherent dangers, but reducing crew complement has the effect of leaving workers blind to danger including ambush, robbery and assault, the very kind of “serious” threat contemplated by health and safety legislation. Brink’s submission that the potential danger or ambush and robbery is addressed through training, protocols and proper equipment is not supportable on the facts.

[31] The respondent takes the position that the training, protocols and equipment provided do not sufficiently mitigate the inherent danger of the “All Off” model. The respondent announced that its evidence will be that the communication equipment was faulty, that it was not even tested at many of the locations where the “All Off” run was to be performed, that the technology and training was deficient, that Brink’s refused to give written information on the protocols to the employees and that the personal protective equipment (PPE) and the protocols fail to provide adequate protection from the dangers associated with robbery and assault.

[32] The respondent further submits that the “All Off” model used by Brink’s mirrors that used by another company, G4S. In the respondent’s view, there is nothing on the record that indicates that Brink’s has introduced a “superior model”, other than Brinks’ own view. There may have been consultation, but there was certainly no agreement at National Health and Safety Policy Committee that the “All Off” model was safe.

Decision

[33] After considering the parties’ submissions, I have concluded, that the applicant will suffer significant harm if it is to comply immediately with the direction as it is worded, pending the outcome of the appeal proceedings, for the reasons that follow.

[34] In my view, the answer to the question of whether the second criterion has been met lies with how one defines the scope of the direction. If the direction purported to address a situation that was limited to the circumstances that prevailed on November 10, 2016, regarding the CIBC Hawkesbury stop of the Ottawa run of Brinks’ delivery services -- or even to all of the Ottawa operations of Brink’s Error 2029 started using the “All Off” crews at its Ottawa Branch and only for one (1) delivery run. Other runs were contemplated in the near future, but remained at the stage of project at the time the present Application was heard. Against those narrow facts, Ms. Lundquist would be correct in her characterization of the employer’s prejudice to be strictly financial and of relatively minor consequence, and would not outweigh the fundamental objective of prevention of work place injury of the Code, which is reflected in the statutory obligation to comply with a direction issued by the Minister once it is issued.

[35] However, Mr. Childs’ refusal takes place in a much broader context. Looking at Mr. Jenkins’ direction, it is clear that it is not focused on the particular situation prevailing on November 10, 2016, at the refusing employee’s location. He did not investigate the particular location where the refusal occurred, because it was his opinion that the refusal raised essentially the same broad question as the work refusal that was dealt with in Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura (the “Edmonton refusal”). It appears that Mr. Jenkins relied on the recently enacted paragraph 129(3.1)(a) of the Code to render his decision on whether the refusing employee was exposed to a danger.

129 (3.1) During the Minister’s investigation, the Minister shall verify if there are previous or ongoing investigations in relation to the same employer that involve substantially the same issues and may

(a) if there was a previous investigation, rely on the findings of that investigation to decide whether a danger exists; or

(b) if there is an ongoing investigation, combine that investigation with the investigation the Minister is conducting and issue a single decision.

[36] Mr. Jenkins confirmed his approach during the teleconference and stated that the issue, as he saw it, was whether Brinks’ “All Off” delivery model presented a danger to employees, irrespective of the particular situation on November 10, 2016, or of location. He found that the Edmonton case had addressed that question and relied on the findings and decision of his colleague in rendering his decision that the refusing employee was exposed to a danger in the present case. The direction that he issued as a result is worded in identical terms as the direction issued in the “Edmonton refusal”. Clearly, the foundation of the direction is that the “All Off” delivery model adopted by Brink’s constitutes, in itself, a danger and is in breach of the Code because it does not adequately mitigate the risk created by the loss of the third person remaining in the armoured truck.

[37] In addition, the Ministerial Delegate included a second paragraph in his direction stating that the employer had failed to apply the conditions set out in Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux’s decision, in implementing the “All Off” model to its operations “throughout its organization”. Clearly, one must read Mr. Jenkins’ direction as purporting to have national implications for the employer. In fact, the Ministerial Delegate’s approach to this case, authorized as he was by paragraph 129(3.1)(a) of the Code, was to apply the finding of danger made by his Edmonton colleague on the “concept” of the “All Off” model, and he simply replicated the wording of the direction issued in that case.

[38] Against such background, I am of the view that the direction reaches beyond the Ottawa Branch operations of Brink’s and must be read broadly. As a result, the prejudice claimed by Brink’s must therefore be assessed through a broader lens, as Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux approached it in his decision. That being so, it makes little sense in my opinion not to accept the same considerations that led Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux to grant the stay.

[39] One of the difficulties for the decision-maker at this early stage of the appeal process is that an application for a stay is dealt with informally and summarily, and without the facts being subject to challenge by the other party. Thus, as in this case, appeals officers are to decide on the basis of statement of facts made by the parties’ counsel in their submissions, which are at times conflicting.

[40] The power to grant a stay is discretionary. That discretion implies exercising judgement on the reasonableness of the parties’ assertions, at their face value, using common sense, and after taking cognizance of the overall context of the employer’s operations and balanced against the employees’ concerns that gave rise to the work refusal and caused the issuance of the direction by the Ministerial Delegate.

[41] In the present case, it is established that Brink’s is a national employer and has operations across Canada. The employer has implemented its “All Off” delivery model in various locations. In Edmonton, the “All Off” model has been in place since November 2015 at considerable costs and subject to very specific operational conditions, vehicles and other material, procedures and protocols than other types of models. In other words, I am persuaded that the implementation of the “All Off” model by Brink’s has proven to be a considerable undertaking, and not a “mere” reduction from a 3-person to a 2-person crew.

[42] It is not contested that the “All Off” model is a widely implemented practice across the industry and in some cases, Brinks’ competitors have had this practice in place for over a decade at locations across the country. There is a debate over the financial stability of Brink’s, or on the superiority of its “All Off” model compared to that of competitors. I am in no position to make an informed determination on these questions. However, I have difficulty denying the fact that when one looks at the situation practically, Brink’s would be at an unfair disadvantage in the market, namely with its main competitor Garda, if it were to forego the “All Off” model and the labour costs reduction that this model permits. In fact, I am somewhat troubled by the piecemeal approach adopted by the Labour Program on an issue which singularly affects the whole armoured car industry. The issue appears to have been present for some time and, in all fairness, ought to be looked at in a more comprehensive manner.

[43] It is not contested that the employer has indeed invested significant resources in the acquisition of equipment, measures and protocols in order to support the implementation of the “All Off” model in its services. In my view, the employer has established that it would suffer more than mere inconvenience or financial loss should the direction not be stayed, but a widespread disruption in its operations that would therefore be prejudicial to those relying on its services (Bell Mobility Inc. (Re)), and where other employers engaged in the same business are at liberty to continue using a similar delivery model. Consequently, I am of the view that the employer has put forward a compelling case justifying that the direction be stayed.

[44] For those reasons and after having determined the effective scope of the direction at hand, my task is somewhat simplified by the fact that Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux has exercised his discretion to allow an application for a stay on the basis of the same submissions presented to him by the same applicant. He sets out his rationale in support of his finding that Brink’s would suffer significant harm should the direction not be stayed, as follows, at paragraphs 30 to 34:

[30] First, I would like to note that I consider the fact that the “All Off” model has been used by Brink’s’ competitors for over 10 years to be very relevant in assessing the prejudice that would be caused to the employer if it was required to comply with the direction pending the resolution of the appeal. The applicant has argued in this stay proceeding that it has only recently introduced its version of the “All Off” model and in doing so, has made significant safety enhancements to the competitors’ alleged “inferior model”.

[31] In arriving at my conclusion, I have taking into consideration the substantial financial cost that the applicant would have to incur in order to comply with the direction pending the resolution of its appeal. I am mindful however, that appeals officers, myself included, have in previous cases, held the view that financial cost alone is not enough to satisfy the second element of the test. Nonetheless, in the circumstances of this particular case, I find that there is more than just financial cost involved. Indeed, I am convinced that compliance with the direction could have a significant impact on the applicant’s operations as well as on the industry as a whole.

[32] Indeed, the direction issued by the Ministerial Delegate directly affects the applicant’s staffing decisions. To correct the danger identified by the Ministerial Delegate, the applicant would have to ensure that an additional crew member is always added to the runs in question, thereby eliminating completely the “All Off” model. The applicant submits that it does not have the internal resources to staff an additional person to the “All Off” crew on every route and would have to retain the services of a third party security company.

[33] Additionally, I find very compelling the applicant’s argument concerning the impact that compliance with the direction could have on the banking industry. The applicant stated that its inability to use the “All Off” crew could have an effect on its ability to provide the ATM service to its customers. Upon my request, the applicant submitted more detailed explanation regarding the control it has on the access to many ATMs and night depositories. In a nutshell, the applicant explains that there is a locking system in place for all electronic locks on certain ATM’s and night depositories that are maintained and managed by Brink’s. In the event of a change in service provider, the locks would have to be removed from all ATMs to be replaced by a competitor’s. This process could take several weeks which would create some service disruption for the applicant’s customers.

[34] It is the combination of these factors that has convinced me that the harm that would be caused to the applicant by having to comply with the direction during the appeals proceedings is significant. […]

[45] I am of the view that those considerations equally apply should Brink’s be required, as the Code mandates, to comply with the present direction. It would make little sense in the circumstances to deny the application for a stay where another appeals officer has allowed it on essentially the same argumentation and factual basis, involving the same employer and in light of the present direction being a carbon copy of the direction in the other case. I am satisfied, as was my colleague Bellavigna-Ladoux, that the prejudice to the employer outweighs the statutory obligation to comply with the direction.

[46] I therefore find that the applicant has met the second criterion.

What measures will be put in place to protect the health and safety of employees or any person granted access to work place should the stay be granted?

[47] At the other end of the equation, the appeals officer must be mindful of the need to ensure that the health and safety of employees are not jeopardized should the Application be granted.

[48] In its submissions, the employer has gone at great length to identify the measures that it has put in place to ensure the safety of its employees under its “All Off” model. It states that it has implemented specialized protocols, including advanced communication tools and equipment such as Sonim XP-7 smart phones/alarms with GPS capability, and remote activation of alarms and distress signal. Its employees received enhanced training on the protocols, including a specifically designed crew movement protocols and a “U Check” protocol by the driver/guard before re-entering the truck with the valuables. Employees received updated PPE, such as a Level III-A bullet-proof vest, described as the highest blunt trauma protection rating in soft body armour and the best on the market for high-risk situations.

[49] Specific Job Hazard Analysis and new job descriptions have been developed, as well as Site Risk Assessments for every stop on runs using the “All Off” model. Each crew is shadowed for two shifts, to ensure that it properly understands and applies the protocols. Each crew member is provided with a Personal Remote Device allowing him /her to access the truck in emergency without having to rely on the approval of a driver. That device can also be used to remotely activate an alarm on the armoured car. The “All Off” operations are monitored by a National Control Center in operation 24 hours a day, which provides support and emergency response to “All Off” crews exclusively. Brink’s also points out that its trucks have been equipped with the most advanced GPS tracking system in the industry and fitted with additional internal and external video surveillance through highly visible CCTV cameras, which allow the crews to view potential suspicious activity in a 360 degree arc around the vehicle when they are entering or exiting the truck.

[50] Brink’s also commissioned an expert third party to conduct a professional risk assessment of the model. The model was also reviewed extensively with national Health and Safety Policy Committee in multiple consultative meetings for more than a year prior to the model’s implementation in Ottawa.

[51] The respondent disagrees that the measures taken by the employer are sufficient to mitigate the risks to an acceptable level. The respondent submits that the communication equipment was faulty, that it was not even tested at many of the locations where the “AII Off” run was to be performed, that the technology and training was deficient, that Brink’s refused to give written information on the protocols to the employees and that the PPE and that the protocols fail to provide adequate protection from the dangers associated with robbery and assault.

[52] The respondent stresses that Brink’s fails to situate its so-called exceptional safety record in the context of the “All Off” model. Brink’s has very limited experience with the model and its safety record with other crewing models is irrelevant to the question of whether the “All Off” model poses a serious danger to employees required to perform it. Between 2014 and 2016 there were at least 13 publicly reported attacks on “All Off” crews.

[53] The respondent points to statistics released by the police in Ottawa to support the view that potential danger of criminal activities is always present. There has been an increase in violent crime, including a rise in gun crime in Ottawa, as those statistics show.

[54] The respondent submits that the fundamental problem is that key safety matters remain entirely unaddressed with the “All Off” model: there is no driver to drive away with the truck and the liability in the event of ambush, there are no eyes watching for dangers in the outside environment, there is no one in safe location to call for assistance in the event of a robbery and in the absence of a driver, there is no visual deterrent to would-be assailants. In the respondent’s view, there is nothing on the record that indicates that Brink’s has introduced a “superior model”, other than Brinks’ own view. There may have been consultation, but there was certainly no agreement at National Health and Safety Policy Committee that the “All Off” model was safe.

[55] Finally, the respondent does not consider that the five (5) conditions ordered on the employer by the appeals officer in Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura effectively alleviate the fundamental danger that is inherent to the “All Off” model; no eyes observing the outside environment leaves workers vulnerable to ambush and assault.

[56] In the alternative, should I find that measures can be taken to mitigate the danger, the respondent submits that it would be appropriate to impose all five (5) measures, but with a greater frequency of accompaniment, as well as the additional measure of a restriction on performing the “All Off” runs at night because of heightened risks of danger.

Decision

[57] As I mentioned earlier in these reasons, I accept Brinks’ statement that the introduction of the “All Off” model in its operations is a considerable undertaking, which is subject to very specific operational conditions, vehicles and other material, procedures and protocols developed for such a model. In other words, I am persuaded that the implementation of the “All Off” model by Brink’s is not a “mere” reduction from a 3-person to a 2-person crew.

[58] In that respect, it is established that the employer has adopted a series of measures that, on their face, are meant to ensure the protection of its employees and reduce the risk to a minimum. The stay is not the proper stage to address the sufficiency of those measures. The adequacy of those measures and the extent to which they sufficiently mitigate the risks associated with the work activity will be the central issue of the appeal on its merits, and I make no judgement on that question at this juncture. The respondent will have an opportunity to challenge the adequacy of the employer’s mitigating measures through cross-examination of the employer’s witnesses and by adducing evidence of its own. It remains that, on their face, those measures were developed with the purpose of enhancing the protection of employees while carrying out an activity that, by its very nature, inherently presents risks.

[59] Although Brinks’ experience is relatively short, the fact that Brink’s has a good safety record and that there have been no attacks on its employees operating under the “All Off” model, is meaningful in my view, at least for the purpose of the present Application. While there have been reported attacks on “All Off” crews between 2014 and 2016, none of these attacks involved Brink’s. I do not find the statistics published by the Ottawa Police to be helpful, as they do not necessarily establish a higher risk of an attack on armoured car personnel.

[60] Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux was apprised of the same information and of the respondent’s (Dendura) position that the mitigation measures did not provide adequate protection to employees under the “All Off” model, although that view might not have been articulated as effectively and forcefully as in the present Application. The appeals officer determined that the additional measures volunteered by the employer would serve to bring an additional level of protection to employees while the appeal process follows its course. I reach the same conclusion, not without some trepidation, as the armoured car industry unavoidably presents unique risks for employees, and attacks and robbery of armoured car personnel do happen, irrespective of the size of the crew and of the preventive measures that may be applied. However, I am comforted in my conclusion by Brinks’ safety record established in the present matter and the precedent that I may now rely upon. In light of the foregoing, I would think that the Tribunal will endeavour to schedule a hearing on the merits of the appeal as quickly as possible.

[61] Therefore, in the final analysis, given all of the above, I am satisfied that the additional conditions volunteered by the employer in this case should be applied. The Ministerial Delegate himself reaches that conclusion in his direction.

[62] There is little use in including a fifth condition that was included in Appeals Officer Bellavigna-Ladoux’s decision, which is to review the “All Off” model with the National Health and Safety Policy Committee in which Unifor participates. I understand that this Committee is a different one than the Committee involving the Teamsters union relating to the Edmonton refusal. The parties agree that such consultations have taken place and did not result in a consensus on the safety of the “All Off” model. It would serve little purpose at this point to include that condition in the Order.

Decision

[63] For the reasons set out above, the application for a stay of the direction issued by Ministerial Delegate Lewis Jenkins on December 29, 2016, is granted.

[64] As mentioned in the letter to the parties dated March 3, 2017, the granting of the stay is conditional on the employer abiding by the following four (4) conditions, which are essentially along the same lines as the conditions ordered in Brink’s Canada Ltd. v. Robert Dendura:

As undertaken by the employer, and with respect to its Ottawa location, the employer shall:

  • Review with each regularly assigned “All Off” crew member on a monthly basis their comfort with the “All Off” protocols and procedures and consolidate any constructive feedback to be assessed and considered for any revision of “All Off” standard operating procedures;
  • Continuous updating and revision as necessary of Site Risk Assessments;
  • Continuous updating and revision of “All Off” Specific Operating Procedures as necessary;
  • Ensure that over the course of each month, each “All Off” crew will be shadowed a minimum of two times by an additional Brink’s personnel for all or a portion of their route to ensure adherence to procedures, avoid complacency, assess and abate risk and to provide additional eyes to alert the crew to any risk.

[65] The stay shall remain in place until the final resolution of the appeal on its merits.

Pierre Hamel

Appeals Officer

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