CBC, June 30, 2015 – Twelve federal public service unions have filed a legal challenge to the budget bill passed earlier this year — and the country’s largest such union plans to file its own challenge Tuesday — arguing that the bill’s plan to save $900 million by overhauling sick leave and disability programs violates the country’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The budget bill was passed in April, and its proposed changes to federal civil servants’ sick leave provisions are one of the most contentious issues in talks with public service unions.
Those talks were temporarily stalled in May when the Public Service Alliance of Canada walked away from bargaining meetings, but Bill C-59 would give the government the ability to act before the conclusion of that process, something unions argue contravenes the Public Service Labour Relations Act.
“In our view, the portion of this legislation dealing with sick leave bargaining is unconstitutional,” said a media release issued Monday by the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, one of the 12 unions that filed Monday’s challenge.
“It fundamentally undermines the constitutionally protected process of collective bargaining and the right to strike.”