Court of Queen’s Bench throws out large sections of Alberta’s labour law

Government given one year to fix labour legislation that violates constitution

Edmonton –Alberta laws that interfere with the right of public-sector workers to go on strike violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Court of Queen’s Bench has ruled.

In a sweeping judgment handed down on Tuesday, and accepted by the Government of Alberta today, Justice Dennis Thomas ruled the blanket prohibitions against strikes and lockouts in Section 96(1)(b) and 96(1)(c) of the Labour Relations Code, and sections of the Public Service Employees Relations Act (PSERA) violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and are not saved by the Charter’s provision allowing reasonable limits as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

“Albertans have a right to work together, to look after each other and to stand up for themselves when needed,” Alberta Federation of Labour president Gil McGowan said. “Attacking those rights doesn’t lead to labour peace – it leads to long-term problems. I am very pleased that Justice Thomas in his wisdom has reaffirmed those rights.”

This is the latest in a series of court decisions in Canada that have reaffirmed the fact that the right to free association includes the right to bargain collectively, and to engage in collective work action. In his decision, Justice Thomas cited the Supreme Court of Canada’s Jan. 30 decision in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, which saw the country’s top court strike down a Saskatchewan law that prevented public-sector employees from striking.”



Olav Rokne, Communications Director, Alberta Federation of Labour at 780.218.4351 (cell)
or via e-mail