Ottawa – The Canadian Teachers’ Federation welcomes recognition by the Supreme Court of Canada that the human dignity, liberty, and autonomy of labour are protected by the right to collective bargaining under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In a recent six to one decision, the Court ruled that the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act, passed by the British Columbia government in 2002 trampled on the rights of health care workers in that province, in particular their right to freedom of association as guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Today’s ruling takes Canada in the right direction,” says CTF President Winston Carter. “In recent years several provincial governments have made efforts to interfere in the free collective bargaining process. In British Columbia, collective agreements negotiated in good faith by school boards and teachers were stripped of many clauses by provincial government legislation. Teachers in other Canadian jurisdictions have faced stripping of negotiated rights and contracting out as governments have interfered in the bargaining process. This Supreme Court ruling will protect teachers from such extreme uses of power.”
This landmark decision recognizes the fundamental and historic nature of collective bargaining even before the existence of the Charter and supports the International Labour Organization (ILO) rulings which have, on many occasions, criticized Canadian provincial governments for their failure to respect international standards within treaties and organizations to which Canada is a member and signatory. Notable examples are the United Nations and the ILO.
The Canadian Teachers’ Federation applauds this progressive judgment which puts a human face on the law.
CTF speaks for 220,000 teachers in Canada as their national voice on education and related social issues. CTF membership includes Member organizations in every province and territory in Canada. CTF (www.ctf-fce.ca) is also a member of the international body of teachers, Education International (www.ei-ie.org).
Winston Carter, CTF President
Linda Hiles, Interim Director of Communications, 613-232-1505, ext. 130