Supreme Court affirms essential role of the right to strike in collective bargaining

January 30, 2015
OTTAWA – The Canadian Labour Congress is welcoming today’s Supreme Court of Canada decision affirming the right to strike as essential to meaningful collective bargaining.

“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,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.

The precedent-setting decision determines that the Saskatchewan Party government’s Public Service Essential Services Act (PSESA) violates the freedom of association protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Every year the overwhelming majority of collective agreements in Canada are arrived at without a work stoppage. In the federal jurisdiction, 94% of disputes are settled without a work stoppage.

“This decision does not change the labour movement’s commitment to protecting public health and safety during labour disputes,” said Yussuff.

Health providers, emergency services workers, and critical infrastructure workers will continue to put the safety and well-being of the public first, he added.

“Strikes are always the last resort, never the first resort, in collective bargaining, and the number one objective is always to reach an agreement,” said Yussuff.

The CLC is the national voice of more than three million unionized workers from every province and territory in Canada.

For more information contact:

Kerry Pither, National Director of Communications
mobile: 613-294-2203, email:

Chantal St-Denis, CLC Communications
mobile : 613-355-1962, email :