TORONTO - The Supreme Court of Canada said yesterday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. was entitled to close a store in Quebec in 2005, seven months after workers voted to become the first Wal-Mart store in North America to unionize.
The highest court in Canada ruled in a 6-to-3 decision that the multinational company had the right to shut down the outlet in Jonquiere, Quebec, and lay off 190 employees.
Justice Ian Binnie wrote for the majority, saying that the court had “endorsed the view that no legislation obliges an employer to remain in business’’ and that “the closure did not constitute an unfair labor practice aimed at hindering the union.’’
A Wal-Mart Canada spokesman said the ruling is consistent with decisions from a Quebec labor commission and the Quebec Superior Court and Quebec Court of Appeal.
Louis Bolduc of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union said the top court’s decision has opened a door for the appellants because a labor board will now be able to investigate the reasons for store closures.