Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan 2012 SKQB 62
Civil Rights - Freedom of speech or expression - Limitations on - Labour legislation
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour (SFL) and the intervenor unions challenged the constitutional validity of the Public Service Essential Services Act (PSES Act) and the Trade Union Amendment Act (TUA Act) on the basis that they infringed rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter in a manner that could not be demonstrably justified under s. 1 of the Charter. The challenges to the validity of the legislation required the court to determine the extent to which the Charter protected collective action by employees, including the interdependent freedoms to organize, to bargain collectively and to strike, and to balance those protections with the need to ensure the effective delivery of essential services to the community by public sector employees.
The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench concluded that the PSES Act infringed upon the freedom of association of employees protected by s. 2(d) of the Charter, in a manner that could not be justified under s. 1 of the Charter. Accordingly, the PSES Act was declared to be of no force or effect, with the declaration of invalidity suspended for a period of 12 months. The court concluded that the TUA Act did not infringe the Charter, and dismissed the plaintiffs’ claim for a declaration of invalidity.