CFLR’s Guide for Negotiating Essential Services is intended as a practical guide for union negotiators engaged in essential service negotiations.
Ottawa (22 May 2015) – The Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights has published a guide for unions negotiating essential service agreements. The guide is based on the main principles that the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) relied on in declaring Saskatchewan’s 2005 essential services legislation unconstitutional.
Supreme Court decision on the right to strike has major implication for essential services legislation
On January 30, 2015, the SCC issued a landmark decision, declaring that the right to strike is constitutionally protected. In Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) v. Saskatchewan, the SCC found that the Public Service Essential Services Act (PSESA), that created an absolute ban on the right to strike for unilaterally designated “essential service employees,” infringed on Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
This decision will have major implications for federal and provincial essential services legislation across the country, and will also impact future essential service negotiations between unions and employers.
Practical guide for union negotiators working on essential service agreements
CFLR’s Guide for Negotiating Essential Services outlines the main principles which the SCC relied upon to define what actually constitutes an essential service, and the mechanisms that the chief justices considered necessary to fairly resolve a labour dispute involving essential employees.
It is intended as a practical guide for union negotiators engaged in essential service negotiations. The guide will also assist union leaders in a review of their provincial essential services legislation to ensure that those laws reflect the principles outlined in the Supreme Court's decision.
SCC decision too significant to ignore
“It goes without saying that the SFL decision is a very significant in terms of the rights of workers and their unions,” noted James Clancy, CFLR Board member and National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
“This decision is simply too important to ignore. We must make every effort to ensure that the principles outlined in the SFL decision are taken seriously and that negotiated essential services agreements reflect them. We also need to review existing essential services legislation across the country to ensure that all legislation is in accordance with the Supreme Court's decision.”
The Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights (CFLR) is devoted to promoting labour rights as an important means to strengthening democracy, social justice and economic equality here in Canada and internationally. The key objectives the Foundation has established for itself are to create greater public awareness and understanding of the critical role unions play in Canadian society and to build effective political momentum and public support for progressive labour law reform. CFLR was established in 2010 and is sponsored by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE).
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE