Quebec Superior Court declares parts of the 2009 federal budget unconstitutional

MONTREAL, July 13, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - The Quebec Superior Court has just delivered a major blow to the Harper government in a decision involving the CBC's unionized workers in Quebec and New Brunswick. The Court has ruled that a number of key clauses were unconstitutional in the 2009 budget legislation which was passed on March 12, 2009.

It is a clear victory for CUPE Local 675 who challenged the legislation for violating the right to collective bargaining, a right protected under the guarantee of freedom of association in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The bill actually overrode wage increases that had previously been negotiated in the collective agreement with no opportunity to renegotiate.

"Basically the Court ruled that the government should have allowed the CBC to negotiate with the union. But as usual, the Harper government chose to take the bulldozer route. It took a Superior Court decision to remind them of the importance of freedom of association and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms," said Annick Desjardins, CUPE representative and lawyer assigned to the file.

"The ruling comes as a relief to CBC workers. The Court is reiterating that they should have a say when it comes to determining their work conditions. It's a good thing we have the Charter and courts to keep the Harper government in line and ensure that CBC workers' rights are respected," said Isabelle Doyon, president of the union representing Radio-Canada (CBC) office workers and professionals (CUPE 675).

According to the judgment (par. 184), the government's attitude is even more surprising considering that evidence indicates that the Treasury Board Secretariat was well aware of the principles established in the B.C. Health Services judgment. This Supreme Court ruling confirmed that collective bargaining in good faith is protected under freedom of association in the Charter.

A complete copy of the ruling (in French) is available on CUPE's website at

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is Canada's largest union. With around 615,000 members across Canada, CUPE represents workers in communications, health care, education, municipalities, libraries, universities, social services, public utilities, transportation, emergency services and airlines.


For further information:

Sébastien Goulet, CUPE Communications, 438-882-3756
Annick Desjardins, CUPE lawyer, 514-795-7528

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