Case No. 3057 against the Government of Alberta

Jurisdiction: 
Alberta
Year/Month: 
February 2014
Case status: 
Follow up

Public Sector Services Continuation Act, 2013 (Bill 45, December)

The legisaltion places further restrictions on some 200,000 unionized public sector workers in the province who already are denied their right to strike.  It denies individuals the fundamental right to freedom of expression by introducing for the first time in Canada, a vague legal concept of “strike threat” which makes it illegal to canvass the opinion of “employees to determine whether they wish to strike,” or for an individual to freely express a view which calls for or supports strike action.  The legislation also imposes huge punitive financial penalties on unions, their members and even unrelated citizens who encourage or support an “illegal strike” or “strike threat.”

Public Service Salary Restraint Act, 2013 (Bill 46, December)

The legislation retroactively eliminated a scheduled arbitration process, giving government employees and their union no real input in determining their wages, benefits and working conditions for this round of bargaining.  When implemented (there currently is an indefinte injunction against BIll 46 by the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench) it will allow the government to unilaterally force a four year contract on 22,000 government workers who are members of the Alberta Union of Public Employees (AUPE) that contained a two-year wage freeze followed by one per cent increases in years three and four.  At the same time, the legislation would have remove the right to binding arbitration for AUPE.

Submitted by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) on behalf of its Alberta component, the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSA/NUPGE) (February 2014).

The Alberta government repealed Bill 46 in February 2015 before the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association had the opportunity to consider it.  Bill 45 was also repealed in March 2015, a week after the ILO Committe on Freedom of Association found Bill 45 violated the ILO's freedom of association principles.

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