Town of Caledon to appeal two-hatter decision
Town of Caledon to appeal two-hatter decision
June 20, 2017
Caledon Enterprise
Article by: Matthew Strader
 
The Town of Caledon is preparing to appeal a decision in regard to its volunteer firefighting force, and shared with The Caledon Enterprise the arguments they will use.
 
According to a document provided by chief administrating officer Mike Galloway, constitutional violations and provincial legislation Bill 109 will form the basis of the appeal, along with some pointed observances from the original tribunal.
 
Five of Caledon’s volunteer firefighters were charged by their Brampton union and captain James Taylor for working full time in Brampton and volunteering in Caledon, a practice restricted by the constitution firefighters are governed under known as two-hatting or double-hatting. However, the practice has historically been allowed and, to some, is necessary in rural areas like Caledon — where the force is approximately 70 per cent volunteer.
 
Ontario unions began to take action against members who violated the stipulation this past year.
 
Four Halton Hills volunteers were charged by their union in Mississauga, found guilty, and face a series of increasing fines that could reach up to $24,000 a year if they continue the practice.
 
The five local two-hatters were found guilty last week, following a tribunal held in Brampton in May, and face the same increasing scale of fines.
 
However, the Halton Hills firefighters represented themselves, while Caledon's volunteers have received the full support of the town, including funding for a legal team.
 
“It’s a really frustrating issue, especially when you consider Ontario and Newfoundland are the only provinces in the country that don’t have legislation in place to protect two-hatters,” said Galloway.
 
Protection of this volunteering was part of the intent of Ontario’s Bill 109, Galloway said, and the town is convinced it has a number of points to raise along with the legislation.
 
The town states the union violated its own constitution by selecting a trial board contrary to provisions its international constitution requires, meaning the union did not have jurisdiction to conduct the trial.
 
As well, they believe Dan Vanderlelie, who was counsel for Taylor, misled the trial board in regard to the relevance and disclosure of minutes from a Brampton Local 1068 meeting in which he spoke about the two-hatter issue.
 
Asked about the claims made by Caledon, Vanderlelie said he had to respect the integrity of the process.
 
“I disagree with the statements,” Vanderlelie said. But in regard to specifics, he did not want to get into them. “Especially now that they’ve said they’re going to appeal. I’m truly trying to protect the integrity of the process. They know how we feel, we made it clear in our submission to the trial board, and they have the right to appeal it (the decision).”
 
Vanderlelie said he believes he has done everything within the rules outlined.
 
Counsel for the Town of Caledon was also approached for comment, but did not respond by press time.