Government Accepts $19.4M Ruling, Will Not Seek Leave to Appeal
August 3, 2023
This afternoon the provincial Justice Minister announced in a news release that the Progressive Conservative government will not seek to appeal the Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the $19.4 Million in damages awarded to UMFA Members. These are the damages for that same government’s 2016 violation of your Charter right to freedom of association.
What are the next steps and when will the $19.4 Million be released?
While the government has made a public, non-binding announcement, nothing formal has been communicated to UMFA or UMFA’s external legal counsel. Our external legal team has now reached out to the government’s legal team to verify the announcement, and we await the government’s formal response. I will update you each time we have new information and move to the next steps of this process. Please be aware that once the announcement is confirmed, it could be months before the damage award is made available to UMFA to distribute to you.
You should not rely on this money until you have actually received it, and that there is a strong likelihood that the damages will be subject to income tax.
How Will the $19.4 Million be Allocated?
- To anyone who was an UMFA member at any point between April 2016 and March 2020: one-time payments totaling $15 Million proportional to salary-increases lost due to the government’s secret interference. You should be prepared for these funds to be taxable.
- To members who were on strike in 2016: one-time payments totaling $1.6 Million for salary lost over 21 days of picketing. You should be prepared for these funds to be taxable.
- To the Association, for costs associated with the strike of 2016: $2.8 Million, which in part will be repaid to the CAUT Defence Fund.
Once UMFA is actually in receipt of the damages, a process will be created to determine and review the precise amount allocated to each of you.
While everyone hoped that today’s announcement would signal a change in this Progressive Conservative government’s respect for the public sector, and unions’ rights to bargaining freely with their employer, it appears that it is business as usual for this government, with continued threats to Manitoba’s public sector: Manitoba Hydro workers only recently halted their strike to review a tentative agreement; Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries workers are locked out; and Manitoba Public Insurance workers are preparing for a strike vote.