Supreme Court of Canada says collective bargaining protected by Charter of Rights and Freedoms

    OTTAWA, June 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's largest union is hailing today's
landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada as the Court's most important
decision in support of free collective bargaining in Canada.
    Referring to the Supreme Court of Canada's previous refusal to recognize
collective bargaining as protected by Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
Paul Moist, national president of CUPE, stated "In overruling its own
decisions from 20 years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada has removed
tremendous hurdles faced by the trade union movement in this country ."
    "The Supreme Court of Canada has now opened a door that was closed twenty
years ago ," says Moist. He notes that the possibility for today's ruling was
opened by the 1995 judgment in Dunmore
    "Today the Supreme Court has followed this opening and determined that
the right of workers to bargain collectively is so important to society as a
whole that it is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."
    The Court held that collective agreement provisions dealing with
contracting out, layoffs and bumping are central to the freedom of
association. Substantial interference with collective bargaining over these
essential rights violates the freedom of association.
    Moist added, "CUPE is particularly pleased that the Court found that the
Charter gives the same protection for collective bargaining as contained in
international labour conventions that Canada has ratified."
    For Claude Généreux, CUPE's national secretary treasurer, "Collective
bargaining is the fundamental reason that trade unions exist. The Court has
recognized that collective bargaining is constitutionally protected. CUPE is
ecstatic with this."
    "From now on, governments that interfere with freely negotiated
collective agreements and the collective bargaining rights of employees must
justify their actions against the protection provided by the Charter of

For further information:

For further information: Paul Moist, CUPE national president, (613)
558-2873 (cell); Claude Généreux, national secretary-treasurer, (514) 884-5074
(cell); Louise Leclair, CUPE national director, Communications, (613)

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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