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Charter of Rights & Freedoms

BC Teachers' Federation opens Charter challenge of Bills 27 and 28 in BC Supreme Court

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

Here's the content of what the BC Teachers' Federation posted on their website today concerning their Charter/legal challenge of Bills 27 and 28 which were enacted by the BC Liberal government in 2002.

The new legislation ended the BCTF's ability to collective bargain class size and composition; guarantees of service from teacher-librarians, counsellors, learning assistance and other specialist teachers;, the length of the school day, and hours of instruction in the school year:

Legal counsel for the BCTF began opening arguments before Madam Justice Griffin in BC Supreme Court on November 15, in what promises to be a significant case determining the rights of teachers and their unions. The BCTF is challenging Bills 27 and 28, imposed by the BC Liberal government in 2002, because teachers believe the legislation violated their right to freedom of association under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  read more »

"Privacy Topics in Labour Relations"

Lorene A. Novakowski with the assistance of Kelly Duggleby, both of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP in Vancouver, wrote a paper entitled, "Privacy Topics in Labour Relations" for the Labour Relations Conference - 2010 (Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia) (June 2010).

The paper addresses the following:

  • Recent Privacy Cases of Interest in Labour Relations

    • Background Checks
    • GPS
    • Video Surveillance on the Picket Line
    • Access Request to Unions
  • Access and Privacy Issues: The White Paper of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia A Guide for Tribunals
  • Charter Values and Surveillance Should Doman Finally be Abandoned

Definition of "strike" in Canada Labour Code does not infringe on Charter of Rights and Freedoms

In Grain Workers' Union, Local 333 v. B.C. Terminal Elevator Operations' Association, 2009 FCA 201, the Federal Court of Appeal confirmed a decision of the Canada Industrial Relations Board that the definition of "strike" in the Canada Labour Code does not infringe on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

A summary of the case by law firm Roper Greyell can be found here.

Canadian Human Rights Tribunal decision may signal death knell for mandatory retirement in federal sector

On July 1, 2009, Nova Scotia amended its human rights legislation in order to prohibit mandatory retirement in most cases.  This means that every province and territory in Canada has now either prohibited mandatory retirement outright, or only allows it if it is based on bona fide retirement or pension plans, or a bona fide occupational requirement.

The same cannot be said for federally regulated employers in Canada.

Section 15(1)(c) of the Canadian Human Rights Act (the "Act") still permits employers in the federal sector to impose mandatory retirement policies on their employees if they have reached "the normal age of retirement for employees working in positions similar to the position of that individual".

Sections 15(1)(a) and 15(2) of the Act provide that mandatory retirement policies are not discriminatory if they are based on a bona fide occupational requirement.  read more »

BCTF to seek leave to Supreme Court of Canada on "political protests" case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

It was reported in an article in today's Vancouver Sun that the BC Teachers Federation will seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on the "political protests" case.

The BC Court of Appeal dismissed their (and the Hospital Employees Union's) appeal in a decision handed down on February 4, 2009.

BC Court of Appeal hands down decision in "political protests" case

Jurisdiction: - British Columbia
Sector: - Education

In a decision handed down on February 4, 2009 - British Columbia Teachers' Federation v. British Columbia Public School Employers' Assn., 2009 BCCA 39 - the BC Court of Appeal ruled that the political protests/work stoppages conducted by members of the BC Teachers Federation and the Hospital Employees Union in 2002 were "strikes" in contravention of the BC Labour Relations Code.

In dismissing the appeal, the Court of Appeal ruled that while the definition of "strike" in section 1 of the BC Labour Relations Code infringes the freedom of expression guarantees in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the infringment is justified under Section 1 of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal further ruled that the defnition of "strike" does not infringe Section 2(c) or Section 2(d) of the Charter.

The Court of Appeal's decision upholds - in the result - previous decisions of the BC Labour Relations Board and the BC Supreme Court (2007 BCSC 372).