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Appeal court upholds order for province to pay $19.4M to UMFA members


Manitoba's highest court has upheld a decision ordering the Province of Manitoba to pay $19.4 million to the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA) for interfering in labour negotiations.

The province appealed a February 2022 decision from Manitoba's Court of King's Bench which said in 2016 the province secretly involved itself in the late stages of negotiations between the University of Manitoba and UMFA, demanding the university offer a zero per cent wage increase.

The original decision said prior to this interference, a 17.5 per cent salary hike over four years was on the table. As a result, the court heard the government's actions caused a three-week strike from university faculty members.

The court awarded $19.4 million in damages to UMFA.

The province had argued the trial judge had made errors in law and fact when reaching a decision, however, a panel of judges from Manitoba's Court of Appeal disagreed.

"I am not convinced that the trial judge erred in law or made a palpable and overriding factual error," Justice Diana Cameron wrote in her decision.

The appeal court has dismissed the province's appeal with costs.

A provincial government spokesperson told CTV News the province respects the Court of Appeal's determination on the UMFA issues. The spokesperson said the province will now take the time to thoroughly and carefully review the decision, and deferred further comment at this time.

In a statement posted online, the faculty association said it hopes the government pays the damages, but said if the province makes an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, it could be many more months before a decision is made. Top Stories

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