Freedom of association

Author:Robert J. Sharpe - Kent Roach
Profession:Court of Appeal for Ontario - Faculty of Law, University of Toronto

Page 193

Freedom of association, guaranteed by section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, protects the right of individuals to come together to form a wide array of organizations and relationships, including those with political, religious, and social purposes. The difficult threshold issue for the courts has been whether the guarantee not only recognizes the right of individuals to come together in an organization but also confers constitutional protection on the activities essential to ensure the association’s meaningful existence.

Nowhere has the issue of the scope of the guarantee of freedom of association been more hotly debated than with respect to the institutions and practices of collective bargaining. Most of the caselaw on section 2(d) deals with labour relations, especially in the public sector. If section 2(d) protects only the right to come...

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