“The Supreme Court of Canada has issued one of the most important decisions in Canadian labour history by declaring, for the first time, that collective bargaining rights are protected by the Charter of Rights,” says Jinny Sims, President of the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF). “It’s a major victory for workers’ rights in Canada.”
The BCTF was granted intervener status in this case and its arguments played a substantial role in the court’s precedent-setting decision. BCTF president Jinny Sims says, “This ruling serves notice that the BC Liberals can no longer impose laws to suit their own needs, rather than the needs of the public they serve. Today, workers throughout Canada have been given assurances that their right to bargain a collective agreement is enshrined in the charter and cannot be taken apart at the whim of government.”
Sims says the BCTF joins the Hospital Employees’ Union in calling for a moratorium on the layoffs that are currently under way in the healthcare sector. “Bill 29 was bad legislation and the government must stop the layoff of healthcare workers.”
This latest legal ruling against the BC government proves the Liberals intentionally interfered with the rights of employees in the collective bargaining process. “This government is no friend of the labour movement,” says Sims, “the Supreme Court of Canada joins the International Labour Organization in pointing out the legal inadequacies of BC’s legislation. It’s time the Campbell Liberals begin to repair the damage they have inflicted on Canada’s reputation through their flaunting of domestic and international labour laws.”
The Supreme Court of Canada ruling overturns earlier rulings that excluded collective bargaining from charter protection. In today’s decision, the court found that, “previous rulings do not withstand principled scrutiny and should be rejected.”
The BCTF is studying the ruling to look at the impact it will have on the teaching profession.