April 29, 2011
The Supreme Court of Canada today, delivered a long-awaited decision reinforcing the constitutional rights of working people.
Consistent with a 2007 decision that identified similar rights, the decision confirms that working people have the rights both to organize into unions and to negotiate with employers collectively
“This decision is of great significance to working people in Saskatchewan, and to all citizens” said Larry Kowalchuk, general counsel for the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. “The Supreme Court remains firm in its previous warnings to governments that ‘Charter rights must be interpreted in light of Canadian values and Canada’s international and human rights commitments.’”
In a decision released in March of 2010, a decision consistent with the findings of the Supreme Court, the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO) directed the Saskatchewan Government to fix its Bill 5, The Public Service Essential Services Act, and Bill 6, Amendments to the Trade Union Act. The ILO found that both pieces of legislation violate international law and the human rights of working people in Saskatchewan.
“There can be no doubt, especially in light of today’s decision, that the two laws are unconstitutional,” said Bob Bymoen, President of SGEU. “We call on the Wall government to immediately repeal Bills 5 and 6 and to sit down with us to discuss any proposed changes to labour legislation in our province.”
“We are looking to have meaningful discussions with the government, in good faith, about the changes to unconstitutional laws that currently exist in our province,” said SFL President Larry Hubich. “It is extremely important that this government respect the rule of law, abide by the findings of the ILO, and come to the table.”
Click here for the News Release
Click here for the Court Decision summary