The purpose of the Act respecting Collective Agreement Decrees is to provide decent working conditions in certain work areas where the employees are more vulnerable.
The documents required during an inspection, as provided by article 22 of the Act respecting Collective Agreement Decrees, have a commercial character. The possibility of having access to some more personal elements is not relevant considering the reasonable nature of the powers allowed to the Parity Committee by the Law.
The requirement to provide the bank statements and returned checks to the inspector is in accordance with the function of the Parity Committee of verifying the respect and application of the Law. The spirit of the Law is to give the inspectors the powers required to achieve their tasks.
The Interpretation Act (R.S.Q., chapter I-16) states that:
“Such statute shall receive such fair, large and liberal construction as will ensure the attainment of its object and the carrying out of its provisions, according to their true intent, meaning and spirit.”
Moreover, in a recent decision, Judge Johanne White, of the Quebec Court, had to answer these two questions:
01-Is the employer required to provide to the inspector the returned checks for the last three months?
02-Does the administrative nature of the inspection, as well as the fact that the employer was not suspected of acting contrary to the law, justifies the employer’s refusal to provide the checks requested by the inspector?
To these questions, the judge answered clearly that it does not belong to the employers to decide which documents are needed for an inspection. Moreover, the lack of reasons to suspect any infringement to the law does not justifies the employer’s refusal to provide the documents needed by the inspector within the framework of his inspection.
Comité paritaire vs. Can-Jan inc.
Cour du Québec, June 23, 2004, Mme la juge Louise Villemure
Comité paritaire vs. Groupe Laberge inc.
Cour du Québec, April 23, 2004, M. le juge Louis Rémillard
Comité paritaire vs. Les services d’entretien Bo-Lav inc.
Cour du Québec, September 24, 2010, Mme la juge Johanne White