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Real Pleadings: Fraser v. Ontario (the agricultural workers’ Charter Challenge)

Here’s another installment of “Real Life Pleadings”.  This time, the Court of Appeal case involving Fraser v. Ontario.

In May, we noted that the arguments had been made in the Court of Appeal in the case of Fraser v. Ontario. That is the case in which the UFCW challenged Ontario legislation that gives agricultural workers lesser rights to collective bargaining than most other employees as a violation of the Sections 2(d) [freedom of association] and 15 [equality] of the Charter (see my earlier entry on this case).  The union lost the argument in the lower court, but that was before the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Health Services, where the Court ruled that S. 2(d) protects a right to collective bargaining.  We still await the decision of the Court of Appeal.

In the Ontario Court of Appeal, the three parties (Fraser & the UFCW, Ontario, and the intervenor, Ontario Federation of Agriculture) revised their arguments to account for the possible impact of the Health Services decision.   So, we await with anticipation the Court’s ruling on the issue of whether Ontario can continue to grant agricultural workers less protections to engage in collective bargaining than other employees.

As the UFCW’s factum points out (at the very end), only Ontario and Alberta exclude agricultural workers from the regular labour relations regime.   Read the Ontario government’s arguments justifying the differential treatment of these workers.  What do you think of a government policy that excludes from labour law protections one of the most least advantaged groups of workers?

Here are the very interesting (albeit, unusually long) facta from the Court of Appeal case, provided to Doorey’s Workplace Law Blog by legal counsel in the case.  We will review the decision as soon as it comes:

ufcw-fraser-factum  (thanks Fay Faraday, from Cavalluzzo Hayes)

fraser-intervenor-factum (thanks John Craig and Jodi Gallagher (Heenan Blaikie)

fraser-ontario-factum (thanks Robin Basu)

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