2011 QCCA 1247 (CanLII)
Court of Appeal — Quebec
liberté d association — négociation collective — médiateur-arbitre — salariés — nationale
In 2003, the government of Quebec passed Bill 30, An Act respecting bargaining units in the social affairs sector and amending the Act respecting the process of negotiation of the collective agreements in the public and parapublic sectors. The bill restructured bargaining units in Quebec’s health and social services sectors by creating four bargaining units per establishment, with the membership of each unit defined according to a series of job titles. As a result, some unions lost all of its members while others increased the number of members they represented. Many professions, historically grouped in separate bargaining units, were forced to unite despite often having conflicting interests. Bill 30 also imposed a series of workplace issues that had to be bargained at the provincial level and another series to be bargained at the local level. Prior to Bill 30, most issues had been bargained at the provincial level. Lastly, the legislation took away the right to strike for health care workers and imposed interest arbitration in case of bargaining impasse at the local level. Reversing the 2007 decision of the Superior Court, the Court of Appeal declared Bill 30 constitutional on all accounts. Relying on B.C. Health Services and the Supreme Court’s decision in Fraser, the Court said it was completely valid for the government to redefine bargaining units as no particular bargaining scheme is entrenched in the Charter. The Court did not address the fact that some unions simply disappeared. Finally, the Court upheld the local bargaining process, despite the obvious flaws of the interest arbitration scheme put in place by the bill.