Dunmore v. Ont. (A.G.), (2001) 154 O.A.C. 201 (SCC)

JudgeMcLachlin, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, and LeBel, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateFebruary 19, 2001
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(2001), 154 O.A.C. 201 (SCC);2001 SCC 94

Dunmore v. Ont. (A.G.) (2001), 154 O.A.C. 201 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

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Temp. Cite: [2001] O.A.C. TBEd. DE.028

Tom Dunmore, Salame Abdulhamid, Walter Lumsden and Michael Doyle, on their own behalf and on behalf of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (appellants) v. Attorney General for Ontario and Fleming Chicks (respondents) and Attorney General of Quebec, Attorney General for Alberta, Canadian Labour Congress and Labour Issues Coordinating Committee ("LICC") (interveners)

(27216; 2001 SCC 94)

Indexed As: Dunmore et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General) et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

McLachlin, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, and LeBel, JJ.

December 20, 2001.

Summary:

Agricultural workers were excluded from Ontario's Labour Relations Act (LRA). The applicants challenged that exclusion on the grounds that it violated ss. 2(d) (freedom of association) and 15 (equality) of the Charter.

The Ontario Court (General Division), in a decision reported at 47 O.T.C. 53, dismissed the application. The legislation did not deny the applicants the right to form a trade union (s. 2(d)). While the legislation did not give agricultural workers the right to bargain collectively, that right was not Charter protected. Further, s. 15 was not violated because agricultural workers were not discriminated against on an enumerated or analogous ground (s. 15(1)). The applicants appealed.

The Ontario Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal for the reasons given by the trial judge. The applicants appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, Major, J., dissenting, allowed the appeal. Bastarache, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Gonthier, Iacobucci, Binnie, Arbour, and LeBel, JJ., concurring), held that the total exclusion of agricultural workers from the LRA in effect violated s. 2(d) of the Charter (freedom of association) and was not justified under s. 1. They found it unnecessary to address s. 15 of the Charter. L'Heureux-Dubé, J., in separate concurring reasons, held that the purpose, as well as the effect, of the legislation violated s. 2(d) of the Charter and was not saved by s. 1. L'Heureux-Dubé, J., opined that the occupational status of agricultural workers was an analogous ground of discrimination. Major, J., in dissent, held that the applicants had not proved that s. 2(d) was violated and that the legislative classification of "agricultural workers" was not an analogous ground under s. 15 of the Charter. The court struck down the statutory provision that gave effect to the exclusion clause in the LRA, in effect striking down the exclusion clause. However, because this remedy obliged the legislature to extend the full panoply of collective bargaining rights in the LRA to agricultural workers, a result that was not necessarily mandated by the principles of the case, the court suspended the declarations of invalidity for 18 months, to give the legislature an opportunity to pass amending legislation.

Civil Rights - Topic 2144.1

Freedom of association - Limitations on - Collective bargaining and employer or employee groups - The Supreme Court of Canada stated that where underinclusion in a statutory regime was alleged to violate the freedom of association guaranteed by s. 2(d) of the Charter, the evidentiary burden was to show that the exclusion permitted a substantial interference with the exercise of protected s. 2(d) activity - The court held that the exclusion of agricultural workers from Ontario's statutory labour relations regime, while not expressly prohibiting association, in effect constituted a substantial interference with the freedom of association guaranteed by s. 2(d) - Without the minimum statutory protection, there was no possibility for association; a chilling effect was placed on non-statutory union activity - By extending statutory protection to just about every class of worker in Ontario, the legislature essentially discredited the organizing efforts of agricultural workers - See paragraphs 1 to 48.

Civil Rights - Topic 2181

Freedom of association - Right of - General - The Supreme Court of Canada discussed the scope of the right to freedom of association found in s. 2(d) of the Charter - See paragraphs 14 to 30.

Civil Rights - Topic 2204

Freedom of association - Denial of right of - What constitutes - [See Civil Rights - Topic 2144.1 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law (s. 1) - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the exclusion of agricultural workers from Ontario's statutory labour relations regime, while not expressly prohibiting association, in effect violated the freedom of association guaranteed by s. 2(d) of the Charter - The court held that the violation was not justified under s. 1 of the Charter - While the court accepted the importance of protecting the family farm and ensuring farm productivity (sufficiently important objective), the total exclusion of agricultural workers failed the proportionality test - The wholesale exclusion was not a rational way of achieving the objective, did not minimally impair freedom of association and was so severe in its effects that it outweighed the objective's importance - See paragraphs 49 to 66.

Civil Rights - Topic 8364

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Burden of proof - [See Civil Rights - Topic 2144.1 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 8380.14

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Denial of rights - Remedies - Severance of portion of statute or section - The Supreme Court of Canada held that: 1) the exclusion of agricultural workers from Ontario's Labour Relations Act (LRA) in effect violated s. 2(d) of the Charter (freedom of association); and 2) the violation was not justified under s. 1 - The court struck down the statutory provision that gave effect to the exclusion clause in the LRA, in effect striking down the exclusion clause - However, because this remedy obliged the legislature to extend the full panoply of collective bargaining rights in the LRA to agricultural workers and such action was not necessarily mandated by the principles of the case, the court suspended the declarations of invalidity for 18 months, to give the legislature an opportunity to pass amending legislation - See paragraphs 66 to 69 and 206.

Civil Rights - Topic 8672

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Equality rights (s. 15) - Analogous categories - The appellants alleged that the exclusion of agricultural workers from Ontario's statutory labour relations regime violated ss. 2(d) (freedom of association) and 15 of the Charter (equality provision) - A majority of the Supreme Court of Canada (seven of nine judges) held that the effect of the legislation violated s. 2(d) of the Charter and it was not necessary to address whether s. 15 was violated - L'Heureux-Dubé, J., in separate concurring reasons, opined that the occupational status of agricultural workers was an analogous ground of discrimination under s. 15 of the Charter - See paragraphs 165 to 170 - Major, J., in dissent, held that the legislative classification of "agricultural workers" was not an analogous ground - See paragraph 215.

Cases Noticed:

Delisle v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 989; 244 N.R. 33, refd to. [paras. 7, 79, 211].

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580, Peterson and Alexander, [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573; 71 N.R. 83, refd to. [para. 8].

Ferrell et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General) (1997), 36 O.T.C. 384; 149 D.L.R.(4th) 335 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 8].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161, refd to. [paras. 13, 107].

Irwin Toy Ltd. v. Québec (Procureur général), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 927; 94 N.R. 167; 24 Q.A.C. 2, refd to. [para. 13].

Reference Re Compulsory Arbitration, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 313; 74 N.R. 99; 78 A.R. 1, refd to. [paras. 14, 76].

Reference Re Public Service Employee Relations Act (Alta.) - see Reference Re Compulsory Arbitration.

Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Canada, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 424; 75 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 14].

Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Locals 544, 496, 635 and 955 et al. v. Saskatchewan et al., [1987] 1 S.C.R. 460; 74 N.R. 321; 56 Sask.R. 277, refd to. [para. 14].

Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territories (Commissioner) et al., [1990] 2 S.C.R. 367; 112 N.R. 269, refd to. [para. 14].

Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Pineview Poultry Products Ltd. et al., [1998] 3 S.C.R. 157; 231 N.R. 201; 223 A.R. 201; 183 W.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. 14].

Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Richardson - see Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Pineview Poultry Products Ltd. et al.

Lavigne v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 211; 126 N.R. 161; 48 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [paras. 15, 113].

R. v. Advance Cutting & Coring Ltd. et al. (2001), 276 N.R. 1 (S.C.C.), refd to. [paras. 15, 114].

R. v. Skinner, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1235; 109 N.R. 241; 98 N.S.R.(2d) 181; 263 A.P.R. 181, refd to. [para. 15].

Syndicat catholique des employés de magasins de Québec Inc. v. Compagnie Paquet Ltée, [1959] S.C.R. 206, refd to. [para. 16].

Ainscough et al. v. McGavin Toastmaster Ltd., [1976] 1 S.C.R. 718; 4 N.R. 618, refd to. [para. 16].

R. v. Beaulac (J.V.), [1999] 1 S.C.R. 768; 238 N.R. 131; 121 B.C.A.C. 227; 198 W.A.C. 227, refd to. [paras. 17, 145].

Haig et al. v. Canada; Haig et al. v. Kingsley, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 995; 156 N.R. 81, refd to. [paras. 22, 76, 212].

Native Women's Association of Canada et al. v. Canada et al., [1994] 3 S.C.R. 627; 173 N.R. 241, refd to. [paras. 22, 78].

R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al., [1986] 2 S.C.R. 713; 71 N.R. 161; 19 O.A.C. 239, refd to. [paras. 26, 171].

R. v. Edwards Books and Art Ltd. - see R. v. Videoflicks Ltd. et al.

Vriend et al. v. Alberta, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493; 224 N.R. 1; 212 A.R. 237; 168 W.A.C. 237, refd to. [paras. 26, 109].

Law v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 497; 236 N.R. 1, refd to. [paras. 28, 166].

McKinney v. University of Guelph et al., [1990] 3 S.C.R. 229; 118 N.R. 1; 45 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 37].

Lefebvre v. HOJ Industries Ltd.; Machtinger v. HOJ Industries Ltd., [1992] 1 S.C.R. 986; 136 N.R. 40; 53 O.A.C. 200, refd to. [para. 37].

Machtinger v. HOJ Industries Ltd. - see Lefebvre v. HOJ Industries Ltd.; Machtinger v. HOJ Industries Ltd.

Wallace v. United Grain Growers Ltd., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 701; 219 N.R. 161; 123 Man.R.(2d) 1; 159 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335, refd to. [paras. 49, 107].

Thomson Newspapers Co. et al. v. Canada (Attorney General), [1998] 1 S.C.R. 877; 226 N.R. 1; 109 O.A.C. 201, refd to. [para. 49].

R. v. Sharpe (J.R.), [2001] 1 S.C.R. 45; 264 N.R. 201; 146 B.C.A.C. 161; 239 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 52].

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union v. Wellington Mushroom Farm, [1980] O.L.R.B. Rep. May 813, refd to. [paras. 56, 195].

Canadian Union of Operating Engineers v. Calvert-Dale Estates Ltd., [1971] O.L.R.B. Rep. Feb. 58, refd to. [para. 56].

Amalgamated Meat Cutters and Butcher Workmen of North America, A.F.L., C.I.O., C.L.C. v. Spruceleigh Farms, A Division of Canada Packers Ltd., [1972] O.L.R.B. Rep. Oct. 860, refd to. [para. 56].

Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Labour Relations Board (Ont.) et al., [1988] O.L.R.B. Rep. May 468, affd. (1988), 32 O.A.C. 7; 66 O.R.(2d) 284 (Div. Ct.), affd. (1989), 35 O.A.C. 94; 70 O.R.(2d) 179 (C.A.), affd. [1991] 2 S.C.R. 5; 122 N.R. 361; 47 O.A.C. 271, refd to. [paras. 56, 90, 91].

United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 175 v. Cuddy Chicks Ltd. - see Cuddy Chicks Ltd. v. Labour Relations Board (Ont.) et al.

Osborne, Millar and Barnhart et al. v. Canada (Treasury Board) et al., [1991] 2 S.C.R. 69; 125 N.R. 241, refd to. [paras. 61, 163].

Royal College of Dental Surgeons (Ont.) et al. v. Rocket and Price, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 232; 111 N.R. 161; 40 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 61].

South Peace Farms v. Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, Local No. 9-686, [1977] 1 Can. L.R.B.R. 441 (B.C.), refd to. [paras. 63, 194].

Rodriguez v. British Columbia (Attorney General) et al., [1993] 3 S.C.R. 519; 158 N.R. 1; 34 B.C.A.C. 1; 56 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 66].

Cuddy Chicks Ltd., Re, [1992] O.L.R.D. No. 1170, refd to. [para. 94].

New Brunswick Broadcasting Co. and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. v. Speaker of the House of Assembly (N.S.) et al., [1993] 1 S.C.R. 319; 146 N.R. 161; 118 N.S.R.(2d) 181; 327 A.P.R. 181, refd to. [para. 105].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291, refd to. [para. 106].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd. et al. (1983), 49 A.R. 194 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 108].

Egan and Nesbit v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513; 182 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 142].

Committee for the Commonwealth of Canada et al. v. Canada, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 139; 120 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 147].

Corbiere et al. v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs) et al., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 203; 239 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 166].

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R. v. Généreux, [1992] 1 S.C.R. 259; 133 N.R. 241, refd to. [para. 167].

Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255, refd to. [para. 168].

RJR-MacDonald Inc. et Imperial Tobacco Ltd. v. Canada (Procureur général), [1995] 3 S.C.R. 199; 187 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 184].

Attis v. Board of Education of District No. 15 et al., [1996] 1 S.C.R. 825; 195 N.R. 81; 171 N.B.R.(2d) 321; 437 A.P.R. 321, refd to. [para. 184].

Ross v. New Brunswick School District No. 15 - see Attis v. Board of Education of District No. 15 et al.

Rathwell v. Rathwell, [1978] 2 S.C.R. 436; 19 N.R. 91, refd to. [para. 203].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 2(d) [para. 6].

Convention (No. 11) concerning the rights of association and combination of agricultural workers, 38 U.N.T.S. 153, art. 1 [para. 27].

Convention (No. 87) concerning freedom of association and protection of the right to organize, 67 U.N.T.S. 17, art. 2 [para. 27].

Labour Relations Act, S.O. 1995, c. 1, Sched. A, s. 3(b) [para. 6].

Labour Relations Act and Employment Statute Law Amendment Act, S.O. 1995, c. 1, sect. 80 [para. 6].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Adams, George W., Canadian Labour Law (2nd Ed. 1993) (2001 Looseleaf Update - Release 15), pp. 6-49 [paras. 56, 64]; 6-50 [para. 56, 63, 64]; para. 6.830 [para. 195].

Arthurs, H.W., Carter, D.D., Fudge, J., Glasbeek, H.J., and Trudeau, J., Labour Law and Industrial Relations in Canada (4th Ed. 1993), paras. 90 [para. 83]; 93 [para. 136]; 431 [paras. 22, 41].

Beatty, David, and Kennett, Steven, Striking Back: Fighting Words, Social Protest and Political Participation in Free and Democratic Societies (1988), 67 Can. Bar Rev. 573, pp. 587, 588 [para. 16].

Beatty, David M., Putting the Charter to Work: Designing a Constitutional Labour Code (1987), pp. 89 [para. 168]; 90 [para. 55]; 91 [paras. 52, 63]; 92 [para. 63].

Canada, Canadian Industrial Relations: Report of the Task Force on Labour Relations (1968), paras. 253, 254 [para. 41].

Canada, Special Joint Committee of the Senate and House of Commons on the Constitution of Canada, Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence (January 22, 1981), Issue No. 43, pp. 69, 70 [para. 37].

Canada, Statistics Canada, Annual Report of the Minister of Industry, Science and Technology under the Corporations and Labour Unions Returns Act, Part II, Labour Unions (1992), pp. 38 to 41 [para. 42].

Gibson, Dale, The Law of the Charter: Equality Rights (1990), p. 257 [para. 167].

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Hogg, Peter W., Constitutional Law of Canada (3rd Ed. 1992) (2000 Looseleaf Update), vol. 2, p. 34-27 [para. 29].

Hunter, Ian, Individual and Collective Rights in Canadian Labour Law (1993), 22 Man.L.J. 145, p. 147 [para. 16].

International Labour Office, Freedom of Association: Digest of decisions and principles of the Freedom of Association Committee of the Governing Body of the ILO (4th Rev. Ed. 1996), generally [para. 16].

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Ontario, Government Media Kit for Bill 7 (An Act to Restore Balance and Stability to Labour Relations and to Promote Economic Prosperity), Questions and Answers: Repeal of the Agricultural Labour Relations Act (Bill 91) (1995), generally [paras. 31, 131].

Ontario, Hansard, Legislative Assembly, Official Report of Debates (October 4, 1995), pp. 99, 100 [paras. 31, 130].

Ontario, Task Force on Agricultural Labour Relations, Report to the Minister of Labour (June 1992), generally [paras. 3, 95].

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Counsel:

Chris G. Paliare and Martin J. Doane, for the appellants;

Richard J.K. Stewart, for the respondent, Attorney General for Ontario;

Alan L.W. D'Silva, Darrell L. Kloeze and Vincent C. Kazmierski, for the respondent, Fleming Chicks;

Renée Madore and Monique Rousseau, written submissions only for the intervener, Attorney General of Quebec;

Rod Wiltshire, for the intervener, Attorney General for Alberta;

Steven Barrett, for the intervener, Canadian Labour Congress;

John C. Murray and Jonathan L. Dye, written submissions only for the intervener, Labour Issues Coordinating Committee.

Solicitors of Record:

Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellants;

The Attorney General for Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent, Attorney General for Ontario;

Fasken Martineau DuMoulin, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent, Fleming Chicks;

The Attorney General of Quebec, Montréal, Quebec, for the intervener, Attorney General of Quebec;

The Attorney General for Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, for the intervener, Attorney General for Alberta;

Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener, Canadian Labour Congress;

Heenan Blaikie, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervener, Labour Issues Coordinating Committee.

This appeal was heard on February 19, 2001, by McLachlin, C.J.C., L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache, Binnie, Arbour, and LeBel, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada. The decision of the court was delivered in both official languages on December 20, 2001, when the following opinions were filed:

Bastarache, J. (McLachlin, C.J.C., Gonthier, Iacobucci, Binnie, Arbour, and LeBel, JJ., concurring) - see paragraphs 1 to 70;

L'Heureux-Dubé, J. - see paragraphs 71 to 207;

Major, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 208 to 216.

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