Referee Stan Lanyon works by motivating all arguments. He agreed with the union that Delta`s collective agreement was not a good comparator, as economic conditions and working conditions vary widely in Vancouver. But he disagreed with Calgary and Edmonton. In Lanyon`s 2014 and 2016 decision, he wrote that wages in Alberta were „too rich“ for Vancouver and were not fair comparators because of Alberta`s unique provincial economy (at least at that time). From 2001 to 2015, wages in Alberta increased by 17.6% more than those in British Columbia. Wages for each year are not readily available, as collective agreements begin and end at different times. Due to the complexity of the negotiation process, the police often work beyond the end of a collective agreement. Quotes on this information are available to the public at the end of the section. The Vancouver Police Union argued that the collective agreement in the nearby city of Delta was not a fair point of comparison. Instead, the union proposed to use Calgary and Edmonton. The police argued that Toronto and other Ontario police forces were better examples than Calgary and Edmonton. The arbitrator will try to counter a fair and reasonable agreement.
The definition of what is „fair and reasonable“ begins with the consideration of other collective agreements in the same sector and geography to be used as comparators. Another reason why local economic conditions are not reflected in police salaries is the distinction between the lack of willingness to pay a commune and the insolvency of a commune. That is an important distinction. A city has much more power than a union since the city council controls the budget. However, we cannot simply use the budget to justify why we can no longer pay. This principle is articulated in another arbitration, Hamilton Police Services Board and the Hamilton Police Association 2002. Arbitrator Kenneth Swan wrote that a city council cannot simply control arbitration through a budget procedure.