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Is the NBA lockout illegal in Canada? Maybe…

Nov 10, 2011, 3:05 PM EDT


I have a better chance of explaining string theory to you than I do the intricacies of Canadian labor law.

But TrueHoop today pointed us toward a fascinating post from a Canadian law blog talking about the NBA lockout.

It is possible the NBA lockout — while certainly legal here in the United States — may be illegal in Ontario, the province of Canada where the Toronto Raptors play (often poorly, but they play). Which could get interesting.

Consider this case from 1995 involving the lockout of NBA referees–the NBA loves the lockout! This was before the Raptors’ had a franchise, but the NBA played regular exhibition games in Toronto. The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that the NBA had not complied with Ontario laws governing when a lockout is lawful. Since the NBA was employing workers in Ontario during the exhibition games, it was not entitled to lockout them out without first complying with Ontario laws. Therefore, the lockout of referees, although legal in America, was illegal in Ontario. A similar ruling was made in regards to the lockout of major league umpires also in 1995–the lockout was legal in the U.S., but umpires could not be locked out for Blue Jay home games.

There are several steps that need to be satisfied for a lockout to be legal in Canada and the blog believes that most of them have not been satisfied.

So what if the lockout is illegal, you ask? Well, if the players union or Raptors players wanted to be a pebble in the shoe of the league there is a remedy.

In theory, once the Raptors’ lose a pay cheque due to an unlawful lockout, they could seek a remedy from the OLRB, were the Board to rule that the Raptors cannot be locked out.

Not likely to happen, wouldn’t really matter if it did. But interesting.

  1. acieu - Nov 10, 2011 at 3:59 PM

    Are you dredging the bottom of your in basket? God you are pathetic as a journalist.

  2. kandh2004 - Nov 10, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    This is Kurt hoping the NBA gets screwed over so his lovers(nbpa) can get even more then they deserve. Kurt the fans run this website just like the league you must understand that with all the kissing up to the players. The majority of us real fans are with the owners

    • leearmon - Nov 10, 2011 at 5:02 PM

      Im sorry I have to disagree. I believe most REAL NBA fans, are not “with” either the Players Union or the owners. I believe most real fans just want basketball to be played.

  3. texmex2 - Nov 10, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    Still the Ontario labor board would defer to league rules & guidelines that govern all 30 teams, probably already in the said league mandate~ I just do not think this is the Hill the players would chose to die on! ~

  4. kandh2004 - Nov 10, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    And if your a real fan then you want a league that has all teams on the same page unless you live in Miami, LA, or Boston. Look at the parity in football basketball needs that and until the players see that then I’m with the owners

    • mytthor - Nov 10, 2011 at 8:43 PM

      Fine, you’re with the owners. Don’t presume to speak for others. The best sign of someone who can’t support their arguments is a statement like “all REAL fans agree with me.”

    • brentton32 - Nov 11, 2011 at 9:51 AM

      St. Louis, Seattle, Miami, Arizona, and etc. disagree. Besides the lions playing well this seaons what parity is there? For the most part you still have the same top tier teams out there.

  5. leearmon - Nov 10, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    This notion of parity in the NFL is a bit overstated. While there is slightly more parity than their NBA counterparts, its not as much as you, and many would like to believe. For all of those who only make blind assessments and ignore facts, WARNING DO NOT LOOK BELOW….

    Since 2000 there have been 9 Super Bowl champions, only 3 more than NBA Finals champions. More but not that much. Since 1993 there have been 12 Super Bowl champions, 8 in the NBA. So yes the NFL has more championship diversity but 4 more champions in close to 20 years doesnt scream HUGE turnover. Im a Bills fan who lives in D.C. who’s married to a woman from Cleveland. So thats the Bills, Redskins & Browns. 3 teams who have combined for 2 playoff wins in over a decade. So exactly how is parity alive and well in the NFL again? The Lions, Texans, Jaguars, 49ers and Dolphins would also like to know when this magical parity of the NFL will trickle down to them as well.

    For every Lakers, there are the Patriots in the NFL. For every Celtics, there are the Giants. Also I find it funny when naming Miami, LA and Boston you conveniently left out the Spurs (who have more championships than Miami and Boston combined in the last 15 years) and the Thunder, a team who has just as bright of future as any team in the NBA. Its also worth noting, that the NBA had a team finish with one of the 3 worst records in the league one year (2007), turn around and win the championship the very next season. Tell me another sport that can say the same thing? If thats not parity than what is?

    Clearly there is a divide between most of the readers of this website in regards to how to win in the NBA. There are some, and I’m assuming you fall in this category kandh2004, that believe the system is whats keeping most teams from competing for a championship. And there are others, like myself who contend that its a poor front office that keeps teams from winning. If you believe a hard cap, shorter contracts and non guaranteed deals, like the NFL has is the answer, I ask you why teams like the Redskins, Lions, 49ers, Bills, Browns, Dolphins etc haven’t won a playoff game in a decade? In any league no matter the “system” there will be bad GMs, bad owners, bad teams. Championships ALWAYS are built from the top. So if the Wizards keep trading top 5 picks for Randy Foye and Mike Miller, if Orlando keeps trading for Vince Carter, and Gilbert Arenas, if the T’Wolves trade K.G. for Al Jefferson and the pips, and keep Kahn as their GM, guess what? Even with a hard cap, and non guaranteed contracts, those teams will still be bad.

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