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Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (“SFL”) 2012 SKQB 62 (CanLII), overturned on appeal 2013 SKCA 43 (CanLII), currently on appeal to the SCC (SCC Docket 35423)

In 2008, the Saskatchewan government passed legislation severely limiting public sector unions’ rights to strike. The Public Service Essential Services Act (PSESA) applicable to public service employees in Saskatchewan is similar to proposed amendments in Bill C-4 to the Public Service Labour Relations Act regarding essential services. The PSESA gives employers the unilateral authority to determine which services and employees are essential. Also, PSESA, like Bill C-4, precludes access to an effective and independent dispute resolution process in cases where the unions do not agree with the essential services designations that have been made by the employer. Both legislations also require only very limited consultation with the unions. The SFL challenged PSESA in 2008 on the basis that it violated s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights (Charter) and Freedom.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) was successful on their Charter arguments at the Court of Queen`s Bench, but not successful at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, which held that the freedom of association does not include the right to strike.

In light of the similarity of Bill C-4 and the Saskatchewan Essential Service legislation, and considering that the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision in SFL v. Saskatchewan will without question have considerable impact on any potential constitutional challenge to Bill C-4 if the SCC finds against SFL, the Institute has requested and been allowed intervener status in this matter and has filed a factum for the Court`s consideration.

This case will be heard by the SCC on May 16, 2014. For more information on this case.

Publish Date: 16-MAY-2014 03:18 PM