All unions and government will be watching teacher ruling: prof

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Every union and provincial government will likely be paying close attention to the Supreme Court’s BCTF ruling.

One expert believes the way Canadian public sector unions bargain could change if the Supreme Court of Canada sides with the BC government.

Fiona McQuarrie, Associate Business Professor at University of the Fraser Valley, was expecting this would end up at the country’s highest court because of the completely different opinions reached at the BC Supreme and Court of Appeals levels.

She says earlier rulings have put the right to collective bargain is granted under the right to freedom of association in the charter. “The philosophy in Canadian labour law is that in a collective bargaining relationship, if you’re an employer or a union, technically everything can be bargained because you’ve agreed to enter into that relationship. So for the Supreme Court to say that it would be okay for the BC provincial government to say there are certain issues that it’s not going to negotiate would be a major change.”

McQuarrie expects a negative ruling for the government would lead to boundaries set for all provincial governments negotiating with public sector unions.

The Supreme Court of Canada will hear grievances from BC Teachers on class size and composition

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