On September 14, 2015, Canada’s 17 federal public service unions filed a complaint with the International Labour Organization (ILO) against the Government of Canada for failing to comply with the international Convention that protects the right of workers to free collective bargaining.
The complaint, filed through Public Services International (PSI) and the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), is the PSAC’s latest legal response to Bill C-59, which gives the government authority to unilaterally amend the sick leave provisions in public service collective agreements. “The right to free collective bargaining is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights, and it is guaranteed in an international convention ratified by Canada just as it is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. We have already filed a Charter complaint in the Canadian courts, and now we are also taking the case to the international stage,” said Robyn Benson, PSAC National President.
Bill C-59 gives the Conservative government the power to amend certain provisions in federal government collective agreements to remove sick leave and impose a short and long-term disability plan outside of collective agreements. The Bill will circumvent the Public Service Labour Relations Act as well as ongoing negotiations.