Judge rules against union in fight to save STC

Judge rules the provincial government has the authority to shut down the Saskatchewan Transportation Company. File / Global News

A judge has ruled that the provincial government has the authority to shut down the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).

In a decision released Friday, Justice L.M. Schwann said she found no grounds to find any legal flaws in the government’s decision stop funding STC in the provincial budget.

READ MORE: Hundreds in Saskatoon protest provincial bus service cut

“This was a decision made by the Government of Saskatchewan for economic, policy and political purposes and it is not reviewable by this Court,” Schwann wrote in her 45-page decision.

Schwann acknowledged the “creation and sustainability of Crown corporations has been a divisive political issue in Saskatchewan since their inception.”

“Even the prospect of change evokes intense and passionate response from both politicians and electorate alike.”

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Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1374 had sought an injunction, asking the court to stop the government from closing down the Crown-owned bus service.

The union had argued that the provincial government had not followed the Crown Corporations Act and the Canadian Labour Code.

READ MORE: Union seeks injunction to block shutdown of Saskatchewan Transportation Company

Schwann said the government acted with its legal rights when it issued an order in council to wind up and dissolve STC.

“[Legislation] entrusts the Lieutenant Governor in Council with the authority to pass subordinate legislation in the form of an order in council authorizing the wind-up and dissolution of a CIC Crown corporation,” Schwann wrote.

“The exercise of that power by the Lieutenant Governor in Council in relation to STC was taken within the ambit of the empowering statute.”

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The Saskatchewan government announced in March that it would close STC, putting 224 people out of work.

The government said it would cost $85 million to keep the Crown corporation running for the next five years.

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Crown Investments Corporation Minister Joe Hargrave, who is also the minister responsible for STC, said they are pleased with the judgment and will continue with wind-up operations.

STC will cease operations on May 31, 2017. Administration staff will continue to work for an undetermined period until wind-up operations are complete.

The government said STC will continue to service Greyhound customers until late September 2017.

With files from The Canadian Press