A controversial essential services law in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan which prevents public sector employees from striking is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled on Friday (January 30).
By a 5-2 margin, the court granted an appeal of the province’s essential services law that restricts who can strike. The province now has one year to enact new legislation.
“This decision today is not just a win for working people, it is also a victory for the values of fairness we all share,” said Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, which went to the Supreme Court over the provincial legislation.
Saskatchewan Labour Minister Don Morgan said the government has “accepted and recognized the decision of the court that the right to strike is now constitutionally protected as an indispensable component of collective bargaining.” He said the government would examine the decision, review the law, then begin consultations.
In a statement released after the court decision, Hassan Yussuff, President of the Canadian Labour Congress said “Today’s decision levels the playing field for workers by placing checks on the power of governments, as employers, to legislate unfair essential services arrangements that tip the scales in management’s favour.”
Supreme Court of Canada decision – here
CBC News – Essential services law deemed unconstitutional by Supreme Court – here
Toronto Star – Supreme Court strikes down law that prevents public sector strikes – here
Portage Daily Graphic – Supreme Court: All public workers have right to strike – here
Official Opposition NDP party press release – Supreme Court ruling a victory for workers – here
Canadian Labour Congress press release – Supreme Court affirms essential role of the right to strike in collective bargaining – here
Saskatchewan Federation of Labour press release – Supreme Court Sides With Working Families – here