UFCW Canada

UFCW Canada

February 13, 2009 12:35 ET

Union counters Ontario appeal application to Canada's Supreme Court

"Does the McGuinty government really believe in its appeal arguments,” asks UFCW Canada president, “or is this just another cynical attempt to appeal to the Ontario farm lobby?”

Attention: Agriculture Editor, City Editor, Food/Beverage Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2009) -

UFCW Canada has responded to Ontario's request to the Supreme Court of Canada that it hear the province's appeal of a November 2008 lower court decision that ruled Ontario's prohibition on agriculture workers forming unions is unconstitutional.

On Friday, the lawyers for UFCW Canada and the three agriculture workers who originally brought the Charter challenge filed their factum - an outline of why Ontario's Leave to Appeal to the Supreme Court should be denied.

The Supreme Court's decision on whether it will hear the appeal is not expected until the spring, "but in the meantime we expect the McGuinty government to begin drafting the legislation it was ordered to proceed with in November," says Wayne Hanley, the National President of UFCW Canada.

On November 17, 2008 the Court of Appeal of Ontario ruled that Ontario legislation that specifically excludes agricultural workers from unionizing violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It gave the McGuinty Ontario government a year to provide sufficient legislative protections to enable Ontario agriculture workers to unionize and bargain collectively as other workers in the province.

"Twice before the Supreme Court has ruled that all workers in Canada, including agriculture workers, have right of to join a union and bargain collectively, as guaranteed under the Charter's Freedom of Association rights," said Hanley. "The November 2008 Ontario court decision upheld that again, and ruled the discrimination against Ontario agriculture workers had to end."

"You have to wonder, does the McGuinty government really believe in its appeal arguments," asked Hanley, "or is this just another cynical attempt to appeal to the Ontario farm lobby?"

UFCW Canada in association with the Agriculture Workers Alliance operates eight support centres across Canada for agriculture workers. UFCW Canada is Canada's largest private-sector union with over 250,000 members across the country working in every sector of the food industry from field to table.
/For further information: UFCW Canada

Agriculture Workers Alliance

Contact Information

  • Stan Raper, National Co-ordinator, Agriculture Workers Alliance
    Primary Phone: 416-675-1104 ext. 232
    Secondary Phone: 416-523-0937
    E-mail: sraper@ufcw.ca