June 7, 1993 (34th Parliament, 3rd Session)


Raymond John Skelly

New Democratic Party

Mr. Raymond Skelly (North Island-Powell River):

Mr. Speaker, I share the concerns expressed by my colleague from Mission-Coquitlam about the inadequacies of the legislation. I would like to ask her if she could respond to this particular problem which is a general difficulty with the Canada Labour Code.
There is a long-term employee at the Port Hardy airport who has been there since 1975, a gentleman by the name of Joe Davey. As time goes on, he is at an age where we all begin to slow down. He was ordered to take on fire-fighting duties apart from his normal job as machine operator. It was not in his job description. They
June 7, 1993

Government Orders
then decided he was not fit to do that and arbitrarily placed him on medical leave.
Joe Davey wound up on welfare, could not get back into the job and was off for about a year. Then they got rid of that fire-fighting requirement. He came back to work. He has a degenerative disc problem in his back. Physicians have said that he can go back to work but he cannot spend eight hours a day digging in a ditch-he is a machine operator-as his back will not handle it. He is off again. The manager has said he is on leave.
The personnel services are looking at this and they refuse to deal with it. He is a long-term employee who can go back to work, yet they have placed him in this tenuous situation. The occupational health and safety people have taken a much broader look at it and have said that there is lots of room for him in there. In fact they are putting people into lighter duties who have lower seniority and are less qualified than he is.
However, the two arms of Transport Canada do not deal with each other. It looks as if this individual is going to spend a minimum of two years out of work, probably on social assistance before he gets his job back, if ever.
Maybe the Minister of Labour might consider responding to this as well. What can be done when an organization such as the Government of Canada treats its employees with such contempt? It has farmed the whole problem back to the airport manager who says: "I am just going to get rid of the guy. He is on medical leave of absence until he quits". Each time he has come back.
What kind of relief can be obtained for an individual like Joe Davey who has been absolutely shafted by an employer who seems to hold him in complete contempt? He is the victim of nepotism at the local airport level. The top level of the system would just as soon be rid of him because aging employees are not desired in the organization. They have no intent to show this as an example of what good employee-employer relations are. They would rather treat them with contempt.
Are there any suggestions as to what might be done regarding the possibilities or what the Minister of Labour might do to help Joe Davey and others in that spot?

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