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Human Resources, Labour and Employment
December 9, 2010

Provincial Government Provides Update on
Voisey�s Bay Industrial Inquiry Commission

The Honourable Joan Burke, Acting Minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment and Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency, provided an update today on progress being made by the Voisey�s Bay Industrial Inquiry Commission.

The Provincial Government appointed an Industrial Inquiry Commission effective Friday, October 22, consisting of John F. Roil, Q.C., as Inquiry Chairperson, and V. Randell J. Earle, Q.C. and Brian R. Gatien as Inquiry Members. The commission will examine and provide recommendations regarding the ongoing strike between Vale Newfoundland and Labrador Limited and the United Steelworkers Local 9508.

"The commission has brought focus to the parties, consulted with impacted stakeholders, such as those in the aboriginal communities, and investigated possible avenues to bring resolution to this dispute," said Minister Burke. "The inquiry has made progress, but Mr. Roil has indicated the commission requires more time to complete its report."

On November 30, Mr. Roil requested an extension to the December 23 deadline for the submission of a report to the Provincial Government. Mr. Roil has written requesting approval for the commission to use a two-phase approach to reporting on issues contained within the Terms of Reference, listed in the following backgrounder.

"While government remains deeply concerned regarding the overall duration of this strike, the commission�s proposed approach to deal with its Terms of Reference in two phases is acceptable," said Minister Burke. "Under this revised approach, I will expect receipt of the phase one report pertaining to issues one and six of the Terms of Reference by no later than December 23, and the phase two report on items two through five, and seven by no later than February 25, 2011."

Minister Burke encouraged the commission to view this extension as the option of last resort and endeavour to complete their deliberations in advance of the revised schedule.

"It is important that all aspects of the Industrial Inquiry Commission�s mandate are fulfilled effectively and in a timely manner," said Minister Burke. "Appointment of an industrial inquiry is a rare and significant move on government�s part and the work of this commission will provide advice on options to address this dispute. It is very important that we receive a true picture of how this strike has, and continues to, affect our province."

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Media contact:

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

Terms of Reference

The Industrial Inquiry Commission will examine and provide recommendations that will address the following industrial matters:

  1. The positions of the parties in relation to the outstanding collective bargaining issues;
  2. The factors which have led to the existing labour-management relations climate at the Voisey�s Bay project site in Labrador and options to improve these relations;
  3. The identification of local, provincial, national or international matters that may be contributing factors in this dispute;
  4. A discussion of any impacts this dispute may be having on other labour-management relationships;
  5. A discussion of the ramifications of this dispute, and its costs to the Province and the parties involved;
  6. The options to resolve this dispute, including proposed terms of settlement, should the parties fail to conclude a collective agreement before the filing of the Commission�s report; and,
  7. Other matters the Commission may deem appropriate.
  8. 2010 12 09                                            4:05 p.m.

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