The NSFL marks 42nd anniversary of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms with call for worker rights protection

April 17, 2024

Today marks the 42nd anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a cornerstone of our nation’s commitment to freedom, democracy, and the values of equality, diversity, and inclusion. However, as we reflect on this milestone, there is little cause for celebration within our unions, as austerity measures and governmental actions have eroded the rights and freedoms of workers across the country.

Numerous Charter challenges underscore a troubling trend where governments have infringed upon the rights of workers, disregarding the principles enshrined in the Charter.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms should symbolize the protection of fundamental rights, including workers’ rights to unionize, bargain freely, and strike. Yet, we have witnessed government leaders circumventing these rights, choosing to legislate against the spirit of the Charter rather than uphold it.

I would call for a renewed commitment from government leaders to uphold the rights and dignity of workers, and urge the enactment of first contract and card check laws, anti-scab legislation, and an end to court challenges that undermine the collective bargaining rights guaranteed by the Charter. It is imperative that all individuals, especially workers choosing to join a union, are treated with the respect and fairness they rightfully deserve.

As we commemorate the 42nd anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, I would emphasize the need for genuine protection of workers’ rights and a commitment to fostering a fair and equitable labour environment for all. The time has come for our government leaders to honour the principles enshrined in the Charter and safeguard the fundamental freedoms that form the bedrock of our democratic society. It’s time all government, including ours in Nova Scotia, started to not just talk the talk, but to walk the walk.

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