Retail, Wholesale And Department Store Union, Locals 544, 496, 635 and 955 et al. v. Saskatchewan et al., (1987) 74 N.R. 321 (SCC)

JudgeDickson, C.J.C., Beetz, McIntyre, Chouinard, Wilson, Le Dain and La Forest, JJ.
CourtSupreme Court of Canada
Case DateApril 09, 1987
JurisdictionCanada (Federal)
Citations(1987), 74 N.R. 321 (SCC);[1987] 1 SCR 460;1987 CanLII 90 (SCC);74 NR 321;38 DLR (4th) 277;[1987] 3 WWR 673;[1987] SCJ No 8 (QL);56 Sask R 277

RWDSU v. Sask. (1987), 74 N.R. 321 (SCC)

MLB headnote and full text

[French language version follows English language version]

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

.........................

Government of Saskatchewan, the Honourable Lorne J. McLaren, the Honourable Lorne H. Hepworth and His Honour Judge Robert Harvie Allan and the Attorney General of Canada, the Attorney General for Ontario, the Attorney General of British Columbia, the Attorney General for Alberta v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Locals 544, 496, 635 and 955, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local P-241-1, P-241-2, P-241-3, P-242-4 and P-241-6, Dairy and Produce Workers, Local 834, affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Local 834, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers of America, Local 395, Maurice Hnidy, Doug Harold, Ron Orobko, Don Bohn, Dean Schendel, John Kukurudza, Allan Goyer, Don Deck, Doug Leite, David Klassen, Reg Cox, Gordon Fairburn, Andy Stariuala, Lance Brownbridge and Attorney General of Manitoba

Indexed As: Retail, Wholesale And Department Store Union, Locals 544, 496, 635 and 955 et al. v. Saskatchewan et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

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

April 9, 1987.

Summary:

Four unions (certified as bargaining agents for the employees of two dairies) and fourteen individuals (union members and employees of the dairies) applied for a declaration that the Dairy Workers (Maintenance of Operations) Act was ultra vires the provincial legislature. The applicants contended that portions of the Act prohibiting the right to strike in the dairy industry violated the right to freedom of association s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench, in a decision reported in [1984] 4 W.W.R. 717; 33 Sask.R. 219; 12 D.L.R.(4th) 10; 10 C.R.R. 1; 84 C.L.L.C. 14,061, held that the Act was valid. The applicants appealed.

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal in a judgment reported [1985] 5 W.W.R. 97; 39 Sask.R. 193; 19 D.L.R.(4th) 609; 85 C.L.L.C. 14,054, allowed the appeal and held that those portions of the Act which prohibited strikes were of no force and effect, because they violated the right to freedom of association. Saskatchewan appealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada, per McIntyre, J., with Le Dain, Beetz, and La Forest, JJ., concurring, allowed the appeal and held that the Act in prohibiting strikes did not violate the right to freedom of association guaranteed by s. 2(d) of the Charter.

Dickson, C.J.C., concurring in the result, was of the opinion that the Act violated the right to freedom of association, but was reasonable under s. 1 of the Charter.

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

Civil Rights - Topic 2144

Freedom of association - Limitations on - Right to strike - When labour disputes allegedly threatened the Saskatchewan dairy industry, the government of Saskatchewan enacted the Dairy Workers (Maintenance of Operations) Act, which, inter alia, abridged the right of unions in the industry to strike - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the Act, in prohibiting strike action, did not violate the right to freedom of association in s. 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Civil Rights - Topic 8348

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Application - Exceptions - Reasonable limits prescribed by law - In a judgment where the majority of the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Saskatchewan legislation barring the right to strike in the dairy industry did not violate the right to freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Charter, Dickson, C.J.C., and Wilson, J., in minority judgments opined that the Act violated the freedom of association but differed on whether the Act was reasonable under s. 1 insofar it sought to protect a particular societal group, dairy farmers.

Cases Noticed:

Dolphin Delivery Ltd. v. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 580 (1984), 10 D.L.R.(4th) 198 (B.C.C.A.), affd. [1986] 2 S.C.R. 573; 71 N.R. 83, refd to. [para. 25].

R. v. Oakes, [1986] 1 S.C.R. 103; 65 N.R. 87; 14 O.A.C. 335, appld. [paras. 28, 31].

Re Anti Inflation Act, [1976] 2 S.C.R. 373; 9 N.R. 541, consd. [para. 54].

Ares v. Venner, [1970] S.C.R. 608, consd. [para. 62].

Attorney-General v. Times Newspapers Ltd., [1974] A.C. 273, consd. [para. 63].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, sect. 1, sect. 2(d), sect. 24(1).

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 52(1).

Dairy Workers (Maintenance of Operations) Act, S.S. 1983-84, c. D-1.1.

Trade Union Act, R.S.S. 1978, c. T-17, sect. 34.

Authors and Works Noticed:

Adell, Bernard, "Establishing a Collective Employee Voice in the Workplace: How Can the Obstacles be Lowered?" in Essays in Labour Relations Law. Papers presented at the Conference on Government and Labour Relations: The Death of Voluntarism, (School of Management, University of Lethbridge, September 6-8, 1984. Don Mills, Ont.: CCH Canadian Ltd., 1986) [para. 30].

Arthurs, H.W., Public Interest Labour Disputes in Canada: A Legislative Perspective (1967-68), 17 Buffalo L. Rev. 39 [para. 56].

Arthurs, H.W., "Free Collective Bargaining in a Regulated Society", in The Direction of Labour Policy in Canada. (Frances Bairstow, Ed., Montreal; McGill University Industrial Relations Centre, 1977.) [para. 56].

Canada, Task Force on Labour Relations, Canadian Industrial Relations: The Report of Task Force on Labour Relations. Ottawa: Privy Council Office, 1968 [para. 55].

International Labour Organization, Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining: General Survey by the Committee of Experts on the Applications of Conventions and Recommandations, Report III (Part 4(B))(International Labour Conference, 69th Session. Geneva: International Labour Office, 1983) [para. 51].

Woods, Task Force Report on Canadian Industrial Relations (1968), p. 130 [para. 55].

Counsel:

Robert G. Richards and B.G. Welsch, for the appellants;

George Taylor, Q.C., for the respondents;

Eric A. Bowie, Q.C., for the Attorney General of Canada;

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

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

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

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

Solicitors of Record:

James P. Taylor, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the appellants;

Mitchell Taylor, Romanow, Ching, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, for the respondents;

Roger Tasse, Ottawa, for the Attorney General of Canada;

Archie Campbell, Toronto, Ontario, for the Attorney General for Ontario;

Ministry of the Attorney General, Victoria, B.C., for the Attorney General of British Columbia;

McLennan, Ross, Edmonton, Alberta, for the Attorney General for Alberta;

Tanner, Elton, Winnipeg, Manitoba, for the Attorney General of Manitoba.

This case was heard on October 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, 1987, 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;

Dickson, C.J.C., concurring in the result - see paragraphs 2 to 45;

McIntyre, J. - see paragraphs 46 to 48;

Wilson, J., dissenting - see paragraphs 49 to 70.

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

To continue reading

Request your trial
109 practice notes
  • Moretto c. Canada (Citoyenneté et Immigration),
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Canada)
    • October 18, 2019
    ...to S.C.C. refused [2016] 1 S.C.R. xviii; PSAC v. Canada, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 424, (1987), 38 D.L.R. (4th) 249; RWDSU v. Saskatchewan, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 460, (1987), 8 D.L.R. (4th) 277; Droit de la famille ‑ 1741, [1993] R.J.Q. 647, 38 A.C.W.S. (3d) 315 (C.A.), leave to appeal to S.C.C. ref......
  • Fraser et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General), [2011] N.R. TBEd. AP.052
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 17, 2009
    ...refd to. [paras. 19, 157, 321]. Retail, Wholesale, 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. [paras. 19, 157, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territories ......
  • Dunmore v. Ont. (A.G.), 2001 SCC 94
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • February 19, 2001
    ...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. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territories (Commissioner......
  • Fraser et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General), (2011) 415 N.R. 200 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court (Canada)
    • December 17, 2009
    ...refd to. [paras. 19, 157, 321]. Retail, Wholesale, 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. [paras. 19, 157, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
56 cases
  • Moretto c. Canada (Citoyenneté et Immigration),
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (Canada)
    • October 18, 2019
    ...to S.C.C. refused [2016] 1 S.C.R. xviii; PSAC v. Canada, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 424, (1987), 38 D.L.R. (4th) 249; RWDSU v. Saskatchewan, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 460, (1987), 8 D.L.R. (4th) 277; Droit de la famille ‑ 1741, [1993] R.J.Q. 647, 38 A.C.W.S. (3d) 315 (C.A.), leave to appeal to S.C.C. ref......
  • Fraser et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General), [2011] N.R. TBEd. AP.052
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 17, 2009
    ...refd to. [paras. 19, 157, 321]. Retail, Wholesale, 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. [paras. 19, 157, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territories ......
  • Dunmore v. Ont. (A.G.), 2001 SCC 94
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • February 19, 2001
    ...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. Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territories (Commissioner......
  • Fraser et al. v. Ontario (Attorney General), (2011) 415 N.R. 200 (SCC)
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Supreme Court of Canada
    • December 17, 2009
    ...refd to. [paras. 19, 157, 321]. Retail, Wholesale, 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. [paras. 19, 157, Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada v. Northwest Territ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 firm's commentaries
51 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Constitutional Law. Fifth Edition Conclusion
    • August 3, 2017
    ...Amend the Constitution, [1981] 1 S.C.R. 753 ..............182, 219, 237 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union v. Saskatchewan, [1987] 1 S.C.R. 460, [1987] S.C.J. No. 8 ...............................................417, 454 Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Local 558 v. P......
  • The International Constitution
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Constitutional Labour Rights in Canada. Farm Workers and the Fraser Case
    • June 17, 2012
    ...Trilogy’s 1 Reference Re Public Service Employee Relations Act (Alta) , [1987] 1 SCR 313 [ Alberta Reference ]; RWDSU v Saskatchewan , [1987] 1 SCR 460; and PSAC v Canada , [1987] 1 SCR 424. So comrades, come rally, And the last f‌ight let us face. The Internationale, Unites the human race.......
  • Table of Cases
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Labour and Employment Law. Cases, Materials, and Commentary. Ninth Edition
    • June 24, 2018
    ...Relations Board) , [1996] 1 SCR 369..... 457 , 539, 566 , 584 , 678 Royal York. See R v Canadian Paciic Railway Co RWDSU v Saskatchewan, [1987] 1 SCR 460 .......................................................................17, 870, 871 Sadyathasan v United Food and Commercial Workers Inte......
  • The Constitutionalization of Collective Bargaining Law
    • Canada
    • Irwin Books Labour and Employment Law. Cases, Materials, and Commentary. Ninth Edition
    • June 24, 2018
    ...Employee Relations Act (Alta), [1987] 1 SCR 313 [Alberta Reference] • PSAC v Canada, [1987] 1 SCR 42 [PSAC] • RWDSU v Saskatchewan, [1987] 1 SCR 460 [RWDSU] 870 Freedom of Association | 12:200 2001–2011: the second trilogy • Dunmore v Ontario (Attorney General), 2001 SCC 94 [Dunmore] • Heal......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT