Tom Harding's Dismissal Ruled Illegal, Company Ordered to Provide Compensation

MONTREAL – A federal arbitrator has ruled that the dismissal of engineer Tom Harding by the Central Maine & Quebec Railway (CMQR) was illegal, in violation of the collective agreement between the company and its employees.

The ruling by an arbitrator with the Canadian Railway Arbitration Board states that, given the circumstances of the case, CMQR must provide compensation to Mr. Harding in lieu of reinstatement. The parties involved have been directed to negotiate the amount of compensation and, in the absence of an agreement, the arbitrator may intervene to determine a fair settlement.

In January 2018, a court acquitted Mr. Harding of charges of criminal negligence causing death, in relation to the Lac-Mégantic train derailment. Upon his return to work, following a medical leave, Mr. Harding was informed in a letter that he was being dismissed. The United Steelworkers (USW) union filed a grievance, characterizing the company’s actions as “cruel and excessive” and in violation of the collective agreement.

The federal arbitrator agreed that the company’s actions were illegal, describing the dismissal as a “fundamental” violation of the collective agreement.

The USW is not commenting further on the case, given that negotiations will be held with the company and the arbitrator may still be called upon to rule on an appropriate settlement.


For further information:

Clairandrée Cauchy, USW Communications (Montreal), 514-774-4001, ccauchy@metallos.ca

Press Inquiries

Thank You

Thank you for contacting us. We will try to get back to you in a timely manner.

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Bob Gallagher
416-544-5966 or

Communications Department:
Dominique Fontaine

Communications Department - Québec
Clairandrée Cauchy

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
234 Eglinton Ave. E., 8th Floor
Toronto, ON M4P 1K7