Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada

April 06, 2009 16:26 ET

Public Sector Professionals Challenge the Constitutionality of the Budget Implementation Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 6, 2009) - Workers' constitutional rights are front and centre as the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC) takes the federal government to court over the regressive and illegal provisions of the Budget Implementation Act (BIA).

The Institute has filed an application with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice challenging the constitutionality of the Expenditure Restraint Act, Part 10 of the BIA, which received Royal Assent on March 12, 2009.

By restricting the ability of public sector unions and employees to negotiate pay rates and compensation with their employers, the Expenditure Restraint Act violates the rights to freedom of association guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, compromises the essential integrity of the collective bargaining process, retroactively invalidates provisions of existing collective agreements, and undermines future bargaining.

"The Supreme Court of Canada recognized in 2007 that the process of collective bargaining is protected by the Charter. The Expenditure Restraint Act substantially interferes with this process, and it drastically encroaches on our members' established legal rights" said Gary Corbett, A/President of the Institute. "The government is totally unjustified in imposing these ideologically-driven, unconstitutional and regressive measures on its employees, and it shouldn't be allowed to get away with it".

The Institute is also challenging Part 11 of the BIA, the Equitable Compensation Act, which forces unionized employees and their employers to deal with pay equity through the collective bargaining process. By turning pay equity into a bargaining chip that can be traded off against other considerations during negotiations, the Act goes against the fundamental right to equal pay for work of equal value protected by the Canadian Human Rights Act, and equality rights enshrined in the Charter. It entrenches gender discrimination by limiting pay equity protections through such measures as prohibiting unions from assisting their members to file or proceed with pay equity complaints. "This turns the clock back 20 years and it will lead to the death of pay equity" concludes Corbett.

Given the critical importance of these issues to millions of Canadians, and recognizing that this will be a long-term battle, the Institute is committed to investing the necessary resources and the time required to ensure the success of this legal action.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada represents 57,000 professionals and scientists across Canada's public sector.

Contact Information

  • Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Chantal Lecours
    613-228-6310 extension 2229
    613-864-4368 (cell)
    Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
    Pierre Villon
    613-228-6310 extension 2228
    613-794-9369 (cell)