MEDIA RELEASE: Charter Appeal to Supreme Court

For Immediate Release: October 17, 2013

Saskatoon – The Supreme Court of Canada released their decision today that they would hear the case of the SFL and the Charter challenge as against the Provincial Government and other public employers including Regional Health Authorities. SEIU-West members and leaders were watching with great interest.

“We are pleased that the Supreme Court of Canada has granted leave to appeal to the SFL and others. While SEIU-West was not granted full party intervenor status today, we will apply to be an intervenor and contribute in a positive way to the ultimate decision from the Supreme Court. Any government needs to be challenged when they pass such laws that have a negative, lasting effect upon all working people in Saskatchewan and beyond our borders,” said Barbara Cape, President of SEIU-West.

“What do we have to offer? Our opinion and our experience is that The Public Service Essential Services Act is a huge obstacle in achieving fair and reasonable collective agreements for our members employed in the public sector. We want to expose the hardships faced by public sector workers who are just trying to get a fair deal in a timely manner,” continued Cape.

As stated on numerous occasions, members of SEIU-West are not opposed to the provision of essential services. The issue is that this essential services law is so flawed that it deletes good faith bargaining altogether.

The Court of Appeal decision on April 26, 2013, determined that The Public Service Essential Services Act was constitutionally valid. This decision followed the earlier determination of Justice Ball, at the Court of Queen’s Bench, which was delivered on February 6, 2012, and found The Public Service Essential Services Act to be unconstitutional because it infringed upon Charter rights and freedoms.

“The only way to restore good faith collective bargaining in this province is to repair the essential services law so that it strikes a fair balance between public good and workers’ rights,” added Cape. “Quite recently, the public learned about the critical need for safe staffing levels in Saskatchewan long term care facilities; why is it that adequate staffing levels can be secured during a job action – but not on a day-to-day basis? We want a decision from the Supreme Court that requires the provincial government to fix this law so it works for everyone, not just the employer.”

SEIU-West represents more than thirteen thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community-based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact:

Christine Miller, Communications Coordinator
Phone: 306.652.1011 ext. 2250

For a printable PDF of this media release, click on the link below:
Media Release: Charter Appeal to Supreme Court



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