Historic Ruling on Saskatchewan Labour Case

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By Ken Fox

On January 30, the Supreme Court of Canada, by a 5-2 majority, ruled that the right of workers to strike is constitutionally protected, overturning the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal’s judgment, and rendering the Public Services Essential Services Act unconstitutional.

The act, passed in 2008, is designed to prevent work stoppages in essential public services such as hospital and police. Invoking section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights, which guarantees freedom of association, the Supreme Court ruled that any legislation limiting the right to strike must provide a strong justification, and an alternate means for resolving the dispute.

The Supreme Court’s decision will have implications for labour laws across Canada.

For further comments and analysis, see posts on Lexicology, Lancaster House, and Slaw.

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