Mounted Police Association of Ontario et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) 2012 ONCA 363
Civil Rights - Freedom of association - Limitations on - Collective bargaining and employer or employee groups
Two police associations, on behalf of their members, commenced a Charter application, challenging the validity of three provisions governing the current labour relations regime for members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). The two associations sought a declaration that s. 2(1)(d) of the Public Service Labour Relations Act (Can.) (PSLRA), and ss. 41 and 96 of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Regulations (Regulations), infringed ss. 2(b), 2(d) and 15 of the Charter. Section 2(1)(d) of the PSLRA excluded RCMP members from the labour relations scheme that enabled most federal public service employees to engage in collective bargaining with management. The RCMP members had a separate employee relations scheme, the Staff Relations Representative Program (SRRP), established by s. 96 of the Regulations. Section 41 of the Regulations prohibited members of the RCMP from publicly criticizing the Force.
The Ontario Superior Court, in a decision reported  O.T.C. Uned. 808, found that s. 96 of the Regulations infringed s. 2(d) of the Charter (freedom of association), and that the infringement could not be justified under s. 1. The applications judge dismissed the associations’ other claims. The Attorney General of Canada appealed the holding that s. 96 of the Regulations violated s. 2(d) of the Charter. The two police associations cross-appealed.
The Ontario Court of Appeal allowed the Attorney General’s appeal and set aside the application judge’s declaration that s. 96 of the Regulations violated the s. 2(d) rights of RCMP members. The court dismissed the associations’ cross-appeal. The exclusion of RCMP members from the PSLRA did not violate s. 2(d) of the Charter. Further, the applications judge was correct to refuse to deal with the claim that s. 41 violated s. 2(b) of the Charter (freedom of expression) for lack of factual foundation.