Sunday, April 28, 2013

SFL: Saskatchewan people have a constitutional right to strike

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
April 26, 2013

Accordingly, none of what I have written above is to suggest or presume that, if again confronted directly with the issue, the Supreme Court would not bring strike activity within the ambit of s. 2(d). Such a conclusion can certainly be reached…
- Court of Appeal, paragraph 67

Earlier this morning, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal released an important decision recognizing that Canadian law has evolved to a point where a right to strike may be protected by the Constitution. At numerous points, the Court of Appeal notes that, though it could not overturn previous Supreme Court decisions respecting a right to strike, striking could very well be a fundamental right protected by the freedom of association.

“Though we certainly hoped for a decision that was more in line with the Justice Ball decision,” said Saskatchewan Federation of Labour President, Larry Hubich “we note that the Court acknowledged just how much the law has and continues to evolve. The Court of Appeal noted that the Supreme Court may very well accept that there is a Constitutional right to strike.”

Though the Court of Appeal stopped short of striking down the 2008 legislation, it made several important observations. The Court notes, for example, that the effect of the legislation is to make it significantly more difficult for working people to organize themselves into unions and other organizations. Furthermore, it notes that, though the Supreme Court will have to make the final determination, Justice Ball was anticipating where the law could evolve.

“Working people and their unions have a responsibility to challenge laws that unfairly constrain people’s rights. This is how the law evolves. Though the Court of Appeal decision does not strike down the 2008 legislation, it recognizes that Charter rights are constantly evolving,” said Hubich.

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