Court dismisses injunction on STC closure
Judge rules government did nothing wrong in shutting down Crown bus corporation
A judge has dismissed an injunction that would stop the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.
In a written decision delivered Friday, Justice L.M. Schwann wrote that the provincial government has the authority to shut down a Crown corporation if it sees fit to do so.
"Funding decisions concerning the allocation of public financial resources fall within the policy-making function of the government as a whole," read the decision. "Those sorts of decisions are of a political nature and considered immune from a judicial review."
Lawyers for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1374 argued that the move violated the province's Crown Corporations Public Ownership Act. The union argued that the government needed to hold consultations and discussions on the merits of shutting down the STC.
It also argued the sudden closure of the STC would hurt citizens, especially people in rural and remote areas of the province.
Lawyers added that shutting down the bus company amounted to privatization, because the closure would lead to private companies taking the place of the STC. The judge disagreed.
The provincial government said it was pleased with the ruling and would continue with plans to shut down the corporation.
"Today's judgment by Justice Schwann has affirmed the legality of our government's actions regarding the wind up of STC," read a release from the province. "Wind up efforts will continue accordingly. We want to thank the Court for rendering the decision quickly."
Meanwhile, the Amalgamated Transit Union admitted it was disappointed by the ruling, and is currently looking over the decision to see if there are grounds to appeal.
"This was our last stand, basically," said union local president Eric Carr. "Next week, the doors are closing and people are walking away."
The decision to shut down the STC was announced in this spring's provincial budget. In the last fiscal year, the bus company lost more than $13 million dollars.
The province has hired the business services firm KPMG to sell all of STC's assets and will come up with a plan to maximize the amount of money that would come from a sale.
The last day for passengers to ride an STC bus is May 31.