In a long awaited ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada has issued its decision in Ontario (Attorney General) v. Fraser. In 2002 the Ontario Government passed the Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002 (the “AEPA”). The UFCW, among others, challenged the AEPA as unconstitutional because it permits farm workers to form employee associations and gives them certain rights to bargain collectively, but they continue to be excluded from union representation under the Ontario Labour Relations Act, 1995.
The Supreme Court held, following its recent landmark decision in B.C. Health Services, that the Charter does not guarantee workers a particular form of collective bargaining rights. The AEPA provides a form of collective bargaining, and access to a tribunal for resolving disputes. Moreover, the court found that the AEPA implicitly includes a duty on employers to bargain with the employee associations in good faith. As such, it is constitutional.
Stay tuned for our thorough update and analysis of this watershed decision.