The Yukon Supreme Court has struck down yet another attempt by a former Yukon government employee to be reinstated to her position within the Department of Highways and Public Works (HPW), calling her petition for a judicial review of her firing “vexatious” and “an abuse of the process of the court.”
Juanita Wood was terminated from her role as a heavy equipment operator while still on probation in February 2015. She filed a petition in January 2018 against the Yukon government’s Occupational Health and Safety Branch seeking a judicial review of her termination, alleging that she was fired because she had raised safety concerns about the worksite.
However, in a written decision released May 3, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Myra Bielby dismissed the petition, calling Wood’s multiple attempts via various avenues to get her job back an abuse of process.
In her decision, Bielby noted that Wood had filed a lawsuit against HPW in May 2016 which also alleged that she had been fired for raising safety concerns, and which also sought her reinstatement with HPW or another branch of the Yukon government and wages she would have earned if she hadn’t been fired.
The case was dismissed in December the same year after Yukon Supreme Court Justice Leigh Gower found the lawsuit contained “no reasonable claim or cause of action” and was vexatious.
Wood has also unsuccessfully taken her case to the Yukon Workers Compensation Health and Safety Board and Yukon Human Rights Commission.
“While Ms. Wood has again chosen a different procedural vehicle to advance her claim in the current action, and has chosen a different branch of the Government of Yukon as a Respondent, the basis for her claim is identical to the one Judge Gower has previously decided discloses no cause of action, is vexatious and is an abuse of process,” Bielby wrote.
“Ms. Wood is bound by the substantive results of Judge Gower’s decision. She is not entitled to reargue her claim simply by choosing another procedural vehicle, this time a petition, whereas the action before Judge Gower was advanced by way of statement of claim.”
Although that alone would be grounds to dismiss the case, Bielby also noted she would have struck Wood’s petition anyway because it was “vexatious,” contained “no reasonable claim” and was an abuse of process, having been filed long after the one-year limitation period outlined under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Bielby dismissed the petition and awarded costs to the government.
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