Overruling one of its own decisions, the Supreme Court of Canada today has determined that the “right to strike” is protected under s. 2(d) of the Charter, which is the freedom of association provision. In Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, the Court confirmed that legislation that limits the right to strike is unconstitutional unless its limits are reasonable and justified in a free and democratic society.

In practice, this case will ensure that legislators do not limit the right to strike without a strong and compelling justification, and without providing an alternative means of resolving a bargaining impasse –an alternative means that will not undermine the bargaining power of the union. In any event, a law that limits the right to strike must interfere only as much as is necessary.
Continue Reading Supreme Court of Canada Recognizes Constitutional Right to Strike: What Does it Mean for Employers?

In Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 1, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) was asked to determine whether the current process of collective bargaining available to members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is constitutional. In finding that the current scheme is unconstitutional, the SCC clarified the requirements for collective bargaining regimes under the right to freedom of association.
Continue Reading Supreme Court of Canada Clarifies Scope of Constitutional Freedom of Association

On November 14, 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a three sentence decision that has important implications for Canadian employers who provide “top ups” to employees during pregnancy, parental and adoption leave. This case is significant because it suggests that pregnant employees cannot be denied a parental leave benefit simply because they enjoy a “similar” pregnancy leave benefit. In some cases, this may require employers to provide additional benefits to employees who take both pregnancy and parental leave.
Continue Reading Supreme Court of Canada Confirms Pregnant Employees Are Entitled to Two Periods of “Top Up”

In Bernard v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 SCC 13, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that employee privacy rights do not override a union’s right to receive the information that it requires to fulfill its representational duties.  Accordingly, employers may be required to disclose information that will allow a certified union to contact members of its bargaining unit at home, and failure to do so may constitute an unfair labour practice.

Continue Reading Privacy in the Labour Relations Context: Union Entitled to Contact Employee at Home

The Supreme Court of Canada (the “SCC”) has confirmed that workplace practices, policies and “operational realities” will impact an employee’s expectation of privacy over information stored on an employer-issued laptop: R. v. Cole, 2012 SCC 53.

Continue Reading “Operational Realities” Can Diminish Employees’ Expectations of Privacy