Finally the Right to Strike: But What About Organizing?


  • Patricia McDermott


The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour decision from
the Supreme Court of Canada (January, 2015) is a landmark case in that,
after a twenty-eight year judicial lead-up, it finally confirms the right to
strike as guaranteed by the Charter’s Section 2(d) freedom of
association. The decision found the provincial government’s unilateral
authority over designating essential services during a work stoppage to be
unconstitutional. The decision is indeed a victory for unions that goes far
beyond the particular issues in the case and will have ramifications for
years to come. This paper presents a preliminary look at the decision and
discusses four interrelated areas of labour law that will be affected. The
downside of this decision, however, is the finding that amendments to
Saskatchewan’s Labour Relations Act that are designed to make organizing
more difficult, are constitutional. This decision continues a trend in labour
legislation that will undoubtedly help undermine the much needed
organizing in Saskatchewan in the face of declining union density,
particularly for the fast growing cadres of precarious workers who need
unions. This aspect of the decision, which represents the loss of a rare
opportunity for the Court to support organizing, will also be discussed


How to Cite

McDermott, P. (2016). Finally the Right to Strike: But What About Organizing?. Alternate Routes: A Journal of Critical Social Research, 27. Retrieved from