Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Canada, 1987 CanLII 89 (SCC)

JudgeDickson, C.J.C., Beetz, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court (Canada)
Case DateApril 09, 1985
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations1987 CanLII 89 (SCC);38 DLR (4th) 249;75 NR 161;JE 87-506;[1987] SCJ No 9 (QL);32 CRR 114;[1987] 1 SCR 424;(1987), 75 N.R. 161 (SCC);4 ACWS (3d) 138

PSAC v. Can. (1987), 75 N.R. 161 (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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Public Service Alliance of Canada (appellant) and Attorney General of Manitoba (intervenant for the appellant) v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by Treasury Board and the Attorney General of Canada (respondents) and Attorney General for Ontario, Attorney General of Quebec, Attorney General of British Columbia, Attorney General for Alberta, Attorney General for Saskatchewan and Attorney General of Newfoundland (intervenants for the respondent)

Indexed As: Public Service Alliance of Canada v. Canada

Supreme Court of Canada

Dickson, C.J.C., Beetz, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ.

April 9, 1987.

Summary:

The Public Service Alliance of Canada (P.S.A.C.) applied for a declaration that the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, S.C. 1982, c. 122, which provided for wage controls, was invalid as a violation of the right to freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the right to equality before the law under s. 1(b) of the Canadian Bill of Rights.

The Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, in a judgment reported [1984] 2 F.C. 562; 11 D.L.R.(4th) 337; 9 C.R.R. 248, dismissed the application. P.S.A.C. appealed.

The Federal Court of Appeal in a judgment reported [1984] 2 F.C. 889; 55 N.R. 285; 11 D.L.R.(4th) 387; 11 C.R.R. 97; 84 C.L.L.C. 14,053, dismissed the appeal, upholding the validity of the Act. P.S.A.C. appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada per McIntyre, J., with Le Dain, Beetz and La Forest, JJ., concurring, dismissed the appeal and held that the Act did not violate the freedom of association guaranteed by s. 2(d) of the Charter, because neither the right to bargain collectively nor the right to strike was protected under s. 2(d).

Dickson, C.J.C., dissenting in part, was of the opinion that the Act violated the freedom of association, but was saved by s. 1 of the Charter as a reasonable limit; although he held that the removal of the right to strike over non-compensation issues went too far and was not justified under s. 1.

Wilson, J., dissented and was of the opinion that the Act violated the freedom of association and was not saved by s. 1.

Civil Rights - Topic 2144

Freedom of association - Limitations on - Collective bargaining and right to strike - The Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, S.C. 1982, c. 122, provided for wage controls, which directly abrogated the right of the public sector to bargain collectively - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Act was not invalid as a violation of the right to freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike were not protected under s. 2(d).

Civil Rights - Topic 5502

Equality and protection of the law - General principles - Whether right to equality abridged - The Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, S.C. 1982, c. 122, provided for wage controls, which directly abrogated the right of the public sector to bargain collectively - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Act was not invalid as a violation of the right to equality before the law under s. 1(b) of the Canadian Bill of Rights - See paragraphs 1 to 5.

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law - Charter, s. 1 - Dickson, C.J.C., of the Supreme Court of Canada, in a dissenting judgment set out considerations in determining whether a limit on a Charter right or freedom is reasonable under s. 1 of the Charter - See paragraphs 31 to 53.

Statutes - Topic 1644

Interpretation - Intrinsic aids - Legislative history - Legislative debates - The Supreme Court of Canada considered statements in Parliament in construing the intent of the Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act and whether it violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - See paragraph 54, 59.

Cases Noticed:

Reference re Compulsory Arbitration (1987), 74 N.R. 99; 78 A.R. 1 (S.C.-C.), appld. [para. 1].

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

Alberta Labour Reference - see Reference re Compulsory Arbitration.

Skapinker v. Law Society of Upper Canada, [1984] 1 S.C.R. 357; 53 N.R. 169; 3 O.A.C. 321, appld. [para. 32].

Southam Inc. v. Hunter, [1984] 2 S.C.R. 145; 55 N.R. 241; 55 A.R. 291; 14 C.C.C.(3d) 97; 11 D.L.R.(4th) 641; 33 Alta. L.R.(2d) 193; 9 C.R.R. 355; 2 C.P.R.(3d) 1; [1984] 6 W.W.R. 577; 41 C.R.(3d) 97; 84 D.T.C. 6467, appld. [para. 32].

Singh v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1985] 1 S.C.R. 177; 58 N.R. 1, appld. [para. 32].

R. v. Big M Drug Mart Ltd., [1985] 1 S.C.R. 295; 58 N.R. 81; 60 A.R. 161; 18 C.C.C.(3d) 385; 18 D.L.R.(4th) 321; [1985] 3 W.W.R. 481, appld. [para. 32].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103, 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335, appld. [paras. 32, 58].

Re Anti-Inflation Act, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 373; 9 N.R. 541, consd. [para. 34].

Re Service Employees' International Union, Local 204, and Broadway Manor Nursing Home et al. (1983), 4 D.L.R.(4th) 231, consd. [para. 46].

Attorney General for Alberta v. Attorney General for Canada, [1947] A.C. 503, consd. [para. 53].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Bill of Rights, R.S.C. 1970, App. III, sect. 1(b).

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, sect. 1, sect. 2(d).

Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, S.C. 1980-81-82-83, c. 122, sect. 2(1), sect. 3, sect. 4, sect. 6, sect. 7, sect. 9, sect. 16, sect. 17.

Authors and Works Noticed:

Carter, D.D. "Collective Bargaining and Income Restraint Programs: The Level Issue" in Recent Public Sector Restraint Programs: Two Views (Reprint Series No. 53. Kingston: Queen's University, Industrial Relations Centre, 1984) [paras. 47, 52].

House of Commons Debates, 1st Sess., 32rd Parl., 31 Eliz.) 2, 1982, pp. 18878, 18879 and 19182 [paras. 44, 59].

Weiler, Paul, Reconcilable Differences: New Directions in Canadian Labour Law (1980) [para. 61].

Counsel:

Maurice W. Wright, Q.C., and Peter W. Hogg, Q.C., for the appellant;

Valerie J. Matthews Lemieux and W. Glenn McFetridge, for the Attorney General of Manitoba;

E.A. Bowie, Q.C., and Graham R. Garton, for the respondent;

John Cavarzan, Q.C., for the Attorney General for Ontario;

Réal A. Forest and Gilles Grenier, for the Attorney General of Québec;

J.J. Arvay, for the Attorney General of British Columbia;

Brian R. Burrows, for the Attorney General of Alberta;

Robert G. Richards and B.G. Welsh, for the Attorney General of Saskatchewan;

Deborah E. Fry, for the Attorney General of Newfoundland.

This case was heard on October 7 and 8, 1985, at Ottawa, Ontario, before Dickson, C.J.C., Beetz, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On April 9, 1985, the judgment of the Supreme Court of Canada was delivered and the following opinions were filed:

Le Dain, J., (Beetz and La Forest, JJ., concurring) - see paragraph 1;

McIntyre, J. - see paragraphs 2 to 5;

Dickson, C.J.C., dissenting in part - see paragraphs 6 to 56;

Wilson, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 57 to 67.

Chouinard, J., did not take part in the judgment.

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