Does the equitable doctrine of unjust enrichment apply when there is a contact binding on the parties to the collective agreement?

Ontario, Canada

The following excerpt is from Sifto Canada Corp. v. Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union, Local 16-0, 2010 CanLII 53028 (ON LA):

40. Even if the first two elements of the Canadian test for unjust enrichment (per Iacabucci J. at para. 30 of Garland v. Consumers’ Gas Co., supra) could be satisfied, which is doubtful, the third is not. The equitable doctrine of unjust enrichment does not apply as a separate basis for recovery when there is a contact binding on the parties. In this case, the collective agreement is a contract which binds the grievors as well as the Company and the Union parties to the collective agreement. As such it constitutes a juristic reason to deny recovery under the equitable doctrine of unjust enrichment. The Union and the grievors are pursuing their remedy under the collective agreement. There is no need or reason to apply the doctrine of unjust enrichment.

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