NUPGE condemns Bill C-89 as unconstitutional

NUPGE demands the Prime Minister kill Bill C-89 because it is a violation of postal workers' Charter rights

Ottawa (30 Nov. 2018) — The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) demands the Prime Minister stop legislation that violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, Larry Brown, the President of NUPGE, calls Bill C-89 a clear violation of the rights of postal workers.

Supreme Court ruled Harper's back-to-work legislation as unconstitutional

Calling Trudeau's actions worse than those of Stephen Harper, President Brown said, "Trudeau is fully aware of the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that deemed the right to strike to be protected under the Charter. This Prime Minister is proving himself to be tone deaf to the rights of workers. He claims he is for workers, but his actions speak loudly."

In Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, 2015 SCC 4, "the Supreme Court ruled that the right to strike is an "indispensable component" of the right to meaningful collective bargaining under the guarantee of freedom of association in s.2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms." (Lancaster House as reported in CanLII) This ruling was referenced in 2016 when Justice Stephen Firestone, of the Ontario Superior Court,struck down Bill C-6, Harper's 2011 back-to-work legislation. Bill C-6 also targeted the postal workers who were on rotating strikes and was ruled to be a violation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

Brown added, "NUPGE's 390,000 members stand firmly with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers. Postal workers are some of the most dedicated workers in Canada. Canadian workers will not stand by as our rights are under attack. We will protect these hard-won rights." 

Legislation violates section 2(d) of the Charter

In the letter to the Prime Minister, Brown wrote; "NUPGE is calling upon you to respect workers’ fundamental human rights and their freedom of association under section 2(d) of the Charter. Prime Minister, you are bound to heed the rulings of the Supreme Court of Canada and respect international law and the Canadian Constitution, to comply with these obligations, you must immediately kill Bill C-89."  Brown's letter continued; " By knowingly disregarding the Supreme Court ruling, you are placing your government above the rule of law. This is a rare act in a democracy and better suited to dictatorships and regimes that have little regard for human rights."

Collective bargaining benefits all Canadians

Collective bargaining is a valuable process that allows workers and employers to work together to create a contract that everyone agrees to uphold. By intervening in this process, the Trudeau government has undermined workers' rights and tilted the playing field in favour of the employer. In his letter, Brown listed a few of the significant gains that collective bargaining has brought to Canadians. He wrote, "Maternity benefits, pensions, and workplace safety regulations—these and many more began as workers’ demands through bargaining that subsequently became legislation." 


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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