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freedom of association

Back-to-work postal legislation found in violation of Charter rights

Justice Firestone of the Ontario Superior Court recently decided that back–to–work legislation introduced in 2011 aimed at striking postal workers from the Canadian Union of Postal Workers was an unjustified violation of the Union’s rights to freedom of association and expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. As a result, the judge retroactively declared the legislation of no force or effect.

 

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SCC orders parliament to reconsider RCMP labour relations

Until last Friday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was Canada’s only police force that was legislatively prohibited from unionizing. On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled…

 

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Slaw: Quebec bill would require small farms to collectively bargain

Quebec’s new government wants to ensure that all farm workers have the right to unionize and collectively negotiate working conditions with their employers. Minister of Labour Sam Hamad has introduced Bill 8, An Act to amend the Labour Code with respect to certain employees of farming businesses, which would require small farms to let a union represent their employees.

 

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Court of Appeal hints that right to strike may be protected by the Constitution

Last year, the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench concluded that amendments to the Essential Services Act impeded workers from exercising their fundamental freedom of association, which includes the right to associate and organize, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike. Relying on a decision of the International Labour Organization, the Court found that the Act completely and utterly violated section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Court gave the government one year to amend the legislation, but instead, it appealed the ruling. On April 26, 2013, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal upheld amendments to the Essential Services Act and ruled that whether or not the Charter protects a right to strike is a matter that should be left to the Supreme Court of Canada to decide.

 

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Slaw: Fundamental labour standards and Canada

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the agency of the United Nations that deals with labour issues, is seeking ratification of its eight conventions covering fundamental labour standards by 2015. The ILO Core Conventions are as follows:

 

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Does essential services legislation violate Charter rights?

After examining Canada’s international labour obligations, Saskatchewan’s Court of Queen’s Bench, has confirmed that section 2(d) of the Charter (the freedom to associate) includes the right to strike. This is something the courts have historically refused to admit in their decisions.

 

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Supreme Court restricts agricultural workers’ freedom of association

The Supreme Court of Canada has finally released its decision in Ontario (A.G.) v. Fraser affecting the working lives of agricultural workers in Ontario. The decision demonstrates just how divided opinions are on the question of limiting workers’ freedom of association under section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly restricting unionization and collective bargaining.

 

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