Re Dartmouth District School Board and Nova Scotia Union of Public Employees

Document Type

Arbitration Decision

Publication Date



Labour Day, Contractor, Supervisor, Collective Agreement, Union Work, De Minimus


During the Labour day weekend in 1986, a supervisor employed by the Employer went each day to one of the schools and opened the building to let in a painting contractor and his workers. On the Sunday and Monday, the supervisor briefly inspected the work done the previous day. The Union claims that this breaches a provision of the Collective Agreement which states: "supervisors shall not do work properly belonging to the jurisdiction of the Union, except for training purposes or in the event of a strike". As neither of the exceptions apply, the Union argues that the work of opening the schools for the contractor was Union work, and seeks call-out pay for the members who should have been called out to do the work. The Employer argues that opening the school doors is not work within the sense of the Collective Agreement, that many of its staff aside from custodial staff have keys, that opening the doors was a legitimate function of the supervisor, and that the maxim "De minimus non curat lex" (the law does not cure trifles) applies. The Union responds that because of the provision for call-out pay, De minimus does not operate.


Summary available only on CanLii. Case summary available at the Sir James Dunn Library via Canadian Labour Arbitration Summaries.