The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent ruling on Saskatchewan’s unconstitutional essential services framework will have ramifications at the national level.

In 2007, the Saskatchewan government introduced legislation that gave the employer the right to ultimately decide, unilaterally, which employees were essential and thus unable to take part in strikes. Similar legislation has been introduced in other provinces and federally.

In striking down the law, the Supreme Court declared it violated section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the freedom of association.

It is ACFO’s position that the new federal rules for determining which workers are essential are unconstitutional on the same grounds and we intend to bring the matter to the bargaining table at our next round of talks scheduled for February 17-19.

Throughout this round of bargaining, ACFO’s position has been clear. We are prepared to meet and negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement but recent legislative changes have unfairly stacked the deck against employees and their representatives. This landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada is an important and welcome step towards restoring balance and fairness in negotiations.