Saskatchewan's highest court has dismissed an appeal of firings at the province's labour relations board.
The Saskatchewan Party government terminated the appointments of the board chairman and two vice-chairs in 2008, shortly after winning the provincial election. The positions were filled with Saskatchewan Party appointments.
But the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and two unions argued the government's move was like firing judges, which would be unconstitutional. They argued the board, which resolves labour disputes, functions in a quasi-judicial way.
The Court of Queen's Bench dismissed the case and the unions then went to the Court of Appeal.
The appeal court, in its decision released Tuesday, said that it was well within the law for a new government to make changes to the board, noting that such changes are a political reality.
"Such are the political realities when ... one government resigns and another takes its place," Justice Stuart Cameron wrote in the decision, which was supported by two other justices. "This is not said pejoratively, for the political reality comports with the law as enacted by the elected representatives of the people of the province."
Cameron noted that while much of the work of the board is in the judicial realm, the board members do not have the same status as judges.
"The unwritten constitutional principle of judicial independence ... cannot be seen to extend to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board, including the chairperson and vice-chairpersons of the board," he wrote.
Labour Minister Don Morgan says he believes the new board has been impartial and its judgements well-reasoned.