Landmark Case on the Freedom of Association from the Supreme Court of Canada: Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 1

19.1.15

The Supreme Court of Canada released a judgment last Friday that strengthens and expands the protection of freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The main issue in this case was the constitutionality of the employee association scheme for members of the RCMP, who are excluded from public sector federal labour relations legislation. Instead, members of the RCMP typically advance their workplace issues through the Staff Relations Representative Program (“SSRP”).

The majority of the Court struck down the impugned legislation as violating s. 2(d) of the Charter. Although the specific result of this decision has little direct impact on most employers, as most employers' employees have access to collective bargaining, many comments from the Court exemplify a broadening perspective on freedom of association, thereby strengthening employees’ rights to collective bargaining.