CUPE Local 1356 Blog

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1356. We have three Collective Agreements as Local 1356, 1356-01, and 1356-02. The membership is comprised of the full-time and part-time workers of York University the Local website is at This Blog will include Local information and information garnered from sources other Universities, Colleges, Post Secondary/Tertiary Education and news sources supplying information.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Supreme Court Ruling on Union Rights

On Friday June 8, the Supreme Court reversed 20 years of its own jurisprudence by ruling (6-1) that the guarantee of freedom of association in section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights protects the right of Canadian workers to bargain collectively.

In this landmark decision, Health Services and Support - Facilities Subsector Bargaining Assn. v. British Columbia, [2007] SCC 27, the Court declared unconstitutional several provisions of B.C.'s Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act (Bill 29), which had purported to override collective agreement protections for health care workers in areas such as contracting out, layoff and bumping rights.

The Health Services decision is likely to impact numerous labour relations issues across Canada, as the Court has now recognized a constitutional foundation for the protection of collective bargaining which had previously been rejected by Canadian courts, most notably in the "labour trilogy" decided by the Supreme Court in 1987. Observers agree that issues decided prior to the Health Services case will undoubtedly undergo re-examination, and future efforts by governments to restrict collective bargaining will have to withstand constitutional scrutiny.

Issues which may be impacted by this decision include:
  • The exclusion of particular groups of employees from bargaining
  • Restrictions on the bargaining rights, including the right to strike, of other groups of employees
  • Limits on strikes and related activity, such as picketing
  • Limits on other forms of union activity
  • Back-to-work, wage control or other legislation restraining bargaining
  • Limits on the process of interest arbitration

Although the Court's declaration has been suspended for 12 months to permit the
provincial government to consider the implications of this ruling, there will
also be significant implications for employers, unions and workers in the health
services sector in B.C., where thousands of non-clinical support staff from B.C.
hospitals were laid off, and then reemployed on less beneficial terms by contractors
providing the same services, following passage of Bill 29.

from an email from Lancaster House


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