Canadian Labour Congress

Canadian Labour Congress

June 08, 2007 11:49 ET

CLC: Supreme Court Says Collective Bargaining Right Protected by Charter

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 8, 2007) - The decision by the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down legislation aimed directly at taking away the rights of working people is a landmark according to the labour movement.

"This is a great day for workers because this decision means that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms does protect workers' rights including the process of collective bargaining," says Ken Georgetti, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

In a six to one decision, the Court ruled that the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, passed by the British Columbia government in 2002 trampled on the rights of health care workers in that province, in particular their right to freedom of association as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

"Today's ruling takes Canada in the right direction. Finally, workers' freedom of association includes the right to bargain a collective agreement that cannot be ripped apart at the government's convenience," explains Georgetti.

Unions argued that the BC legislation amounted to a denial of the rights of their workers to bargain collectively across the health and social services sector. Once in place, the law effectively re-wrote collective agreements to facilitate the government's plan to contract out union jobs to contract workers and pay them less for the same work.

The Canadian Labour Congress, represented by the law firm Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, was an intervener in the case.

The Canadian Labour Congress, the national voice of the labour movement, represents 3.2 million Canadian workers. The CLC brings together Canada's national and international unions along with the provincial and territorial federations of labour and 136 district labour councils. Web site: www.canadianlabour.ca

Contact Information

  • Canadian Labour Congress
    Jeff Atkinson
    613-526-7425 and 613-863-1413