Alberta’s new Public Sector Services Continuation Act violates fundamental freedoms protected by the Charter of Rights and the province’s ban on all public sector strikes also breaches the Charter, United Nurses of Alberta argues in a statement of claim filed today with the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.
UNA is seeking a declaration from the court that because parts of the Public Sector Services Continuation Act, widely known as Bill 45, and the Alberta Labour Relations Code violate sections of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms they are of no force or effect.
While other legal challenges have commenced about other recent Alberta labour bills, this is the first direct challenge to Bill 45.
The statement of claim argues portions of the Public Sector Services Continuation Act and the blanket ban on strikes by large swaths of public employees in the Code violate the following fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Charter to affected members and executives and officers of the union:
- Freedom of expression
- Freedom of association
- The right to liberty and security of the person
- The right not to be deprived of liberty and security of the person except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice
- The right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an impartial and independent tribunal.
- The right not to be subjected to cruel and unusual punishment
In addition, the statement of claim argues that Bill 45 violates the guarantees to individuals in the Alberta Bill of Rights of liberty, security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived of them except by due process of law. The statement of claim therefore also seeks a declaration by the court that these sections violate the Alberta Bill of Rights.
A copy of the statement of claim is attached.