The Supreme Court of Canada released an important decision on January 16, 2015 that reinforces workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining with their employer. PSAC was an intervener in the case and supported the Appellants in their constitutional challenge.
“This decision represents a victory for all union members and all workers who want to join a union”, said PSAC President Robyn Benson.
The decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario (MPAO) dealt with the right of members of the RCMP to have an independent union free from management interference. RCMP officers have been fighting to unionize for many years. The current system only allows for elected staff-relations representatives (not a union) who are merely consulted on staff, pay and workplace issues.
The Supreme Court found that the federal labour laws which prevent RCMP members from joining a union of their choice and engage in collective bargaining violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Justices noted that "Without the right to pursue workplace goals collectively, workers may be left essentially powerless in dealing with their employer or influencing their employment conditions."
This decision is a major victory for all workers in their right to unionize freely and independently.