IDRL 320 v4: Labour Law in Canada Report a Broken Link

IDRL 320 is an introduction to labour law in Canada, that branch of the law that regulates and governs labour and employer relationships related to unions, unionization, and the management of conflict between the parties.

Unit 1


Required Readings
Fudge, J., & Tucker, E. (Fall 2000). Pluralism or fragmentation? The twentieth-century employment law regime in Canada. Labour/Le Travail 46, 251-306. This paper broadens the focus from collective bargaining law to include other forms of the legal regulation of employment relations, such as the common law, minimum standards, and equity legislation. In doing so, it examines the extent to which liberal pluralism regime was implicated in constructing and reinforcing a deeply segmented labour market in Canada. It also probes whether (he recent assault on trade union rights may be the trajectory for the reconstruction of a new regime of employment relations.
Fudge, J. (2004). Labour is not a commodity: The Supreme Court of Canada and the freedom of association. Saskatchewan Law Review 67, 425-452. This article charts the shift in the Supreme Court of Canada's interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedom's guarantee of freedom of association in the context of claims by trade unions for protection of their collective bargaining rights.
Supplementary Readings
Government of Alberta, Alberta Labour Relations Code, RSA 2000, Chapter L-1 Online version (printable) of the Province of Alberta's Labour Relations Code.

Unit 2


Required Readings
Lynk, M. (2000). Union democracy and the law in Canada. Journal of Labor Research, 21 , 1 (Winter), 37-63. This article examines some crucial and oft-debated questions, issues, and developments concerning union democracy.
Foster, J. Tips for reading court decisions

This is a handy guideline to assist you in reading and interpreting court decisions and judgments.

United Nurses of Alberta v. Alberta (Attorney General) [1992] 1 S.C.R. 901 This important case illustrates that, while trade unions may no longer be considered illegal entities under common law, they are not immune from criminal offences, including criminal contempt of court.
Fullowka v. Pinkerton's of Canada Ltd., 2010 SCC 5, [2010] 1 S.C.R. 132 This decision is significant in that it establishes the level of liability accruing to individual union members during a strike.
Kellythorne, M. (2003). Toward a theory of the duty of fair representation. Appeal 9, 32-44. The aim of this paper is to illuminate the development of the duty of fair representation and the discourse surrounding it, in the wider context of pluralism ideology.
Supplementary Readings
Gendron v. Supply and Services Union of Public Service Alliance of Canada. [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1298 This test case dealt with the duty of fair representation by a trade union. It is considered one of the most important cases for providing fundamental rules governing this duty.
Canadian Merchant Service Guild v. Gagnon et al., [1984] 1 S.C.R. 509

A landmark case that helped to define the union's duty of fair representation.

Centre hospitalier Régina Ltée v. Labour Court, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1330

Another case in which the SCC defines and clarifies the extent and scope of the union's duty of fair representation.

Tremblay v. Syndicat des employées et employés professionnels-les et de bureau, section locale 57 [2002] 2 S.C.R. 627 This Supreme Court ruling provides important insights regarding the extent to which union members can claim a right of fair representation from their union.

Unit 3


Required Readings
Adams, R.J. (Autumn 2005) Organizing Wal-Mart: The Canadian campaign. Just Labour 6/7, 1-11. Wal-Mart has long fought any efforts by its employees to organize. This article describes efforts by Canadian Wal-Mart workers to become unionized.
Supplementary Readings
United Steelworkers of America v. Wal-Mart Canada Inc., (1997-02-10) In this 1997 Ontario Labour Relations Board case, a union alleged unfair labour practices, including intimidation and undue influence of its members during union certification.
United Steelworkers of America v. Wal-Mart Canada Inc., (2000-04-19) The automatic certification of a bargaining unit at Wal-Mart was followed by almost three years of disputes between and within the parties. This decision by the Ontario Labour Relations Board in 2000 was designed to end the matter once and for all.

Unit 4


Required Readings
Etherington, B. (Summer 2009). The BC Health Services and Support decision—The constitutionalization of a right to bargain collectively in Canada: Where did it come from and where will it lead? Comparative Labor Law and Policy Journal 30, 4, 715-749. In this paper, Etherington describes the political, legal, and economic context behind the BC Health Services decision, and analyzes the decision and some of the criticisms levelled at it. Finally, he outlines some of the potential implications of the ruling for labour relations activity in the public and private sector.
Supplementary Readings
Delisle v. Canada (Deputy Attorney General), [1999] 2 S.C.R. 989

In this case, the Supreme Court upheld a longstanding ban on RCMP officers joining a trade union. The court argued that the legislation did not violate Charter rights because it did not prevent RCMP officers from participating in an association, but merely prohibited participation in an association that engages in collective bargaining, which is not protected by the Charter.

Unit 5


Required Readings
Royal Oak Mines Inc. v. Canada (Labour Relations Board), [1996] 1 S.C.R. 369 This case outlines some factors that should be taken into account when determining whether the scope of remedial orders by labour relations boards is reviewable by the courts.
Lavigne v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, [1991] 2 S.C.R. 211

This Supreme Court of Canada case finally settled a controversial question concerning the interplay of individual and collective rights as they apply to trade unions.

Supplementary Readings
Health Services and Support - Facilities Subsector Bargaining Assn. v. British Columbia, 2007 SCC 27, [2007] 2 S.C.R. 391

In its landmark June 8, 2007 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada recognized a constitutional right to collective bargaining. The ruling overturned previous decisions in which the Court had held that collective bargaining was not protected by the guarantee of freedom of association enshrined in s. 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Stelco v United Steelworkers of America, Local 5220 [1990] Alta. L.R.B.R. 535 This 1990 Alberta Labour Relations Board case dealt with the duty to bargain in good faith, particularly as it concerns the duty to meet.

Unit 6


Required Readings
Fudge, J., & Tucker, E. (2009). The freedom to strike in Canada: A brief legal hisory. Paper presented to the University of Toronto Right to Strike Workshop Striking is a deeply embedded social practice in Canadian history. Strikes, more than any other dispute resolution mechanism, enable workers to participate directly in the process of determining their wages and working conditions. According to its authors, this paper aims, first, to provide an analytic framework for interpreting the history of the right to strike, and second, to outline the contours of that history.