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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
October 19, 2010

Minister Announces Appointments of Industrial Inquiry Commission
to Address Voisey's Bay Strike

Today, the Provincial Government announced appointments for an Industrial Inquiry Commission should the parties to the Voisey's Bay strike be unsuccessful in reaching a collective agreement by end of business day Friday, October 22. The Provincial Government previously announced that should the parties to the Voisey's Bay strike fail to come to a resolution to the 15-month old labour dispute, it would convene an Industrial Inquiry Commission.

"The United Steelworkers and Vale have had almost two weeks to resolve this labour dispute and while they have announced they will be returning to the bargaining table on October 20, the Provincial Government is ready to act in the event no settlement is reached," said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency. "Our government has gone to great lengths over the last 15 months to work with the parties and help them bring an end to this dispute. Despite our actions, the parties have been unable to reach a settlement even with the conciliation support from the Labour Relations Agency and the assistance of an independent mediator."

The Provincial Government is proceeding with the appointment of John F. Roil, Q.C., as Inquiry Chairperson, and Randell Earle, Q.C., and Brian R. Gatien as Inquiry Members, effective the end of business day Friday, October 22, should the parties not reach an agreement.

The Provincial Government is requesting that the Inquiry complete its report within two months of its appointment.

Under the Labour Relations Act, the Industrial Inquiry Commission would have the powers to summon witnesses to give evidence, compel the production of documents, enter and inspect workplaces, and make recommendations to address its terms of reference.

"I strongly encourage the parties to use the remaining available time to consider their positions, resolve this dispute and prevent the need to appoint the Industrial Inquiry Commission," concluded Minister Sullivan.

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Media contact:

Bradley Power
Director of Communications
Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment
709-729-0753, 699-5707

Biographical Information

John F. Roil, Q.C . obtained his bachelor of arts degree in 1968 from Memorial University, his bachelor of laws degree in 1971 from Dalhousie University, and his master of laws degree in 1972 from the University of London, England. He was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 1972 and appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988. Mr. Roil was in the private practice of law for 29 years in Newfoundland and Labrador. In later years, his practice focused primarily on labour and employment law, municipal law and alternative dispute resolution. He has also served as corporate counsel and corporate secretary for Marine Atlantic, Inc. He continues a limited private practice as an arbitrator, mediator and facilitator.

V. Randell J. Earle, Q.C. obtained his bachelor of arts degree in 1970 from Memorial University and his bachelor of laws degree in 1973 from Queen's University. He was called to the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 1974 and appointed Queen's Counsel in 1989. Mr. Earle is a partner with O'Dea Earle Law Offices and practices in the areas of labour and employment, personal injury, administrative law and civil litigation. He has previously held positions with the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, including bencher and treasurer.

Brian R. Gatien obtained his bachelor of commerce (hons.) degree in 1974 from Laurentian University, his master of business administration from the Schulich School of Business at York University in 1975, and his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1978. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1980 and the Newfoundland and Labrador Bar in 2009. From 1980 to 1985 Mr. Gatien was Director of Negotiations with the Ontario Hospital Association, and since 1985 has practiced solely in the field of labour relations law and acted as a human resources management advisor.

2010 10 19                                                      5:15 p.m.

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