Supreme Court will hear Sask. labour law appeal

The Supreme Court of Canada says it will hear an appeal of Saskatchewan's labour law overhaul.

Essential services law and unionization rules to be scrutinized

The Supreme Court of Canada says it will hear an appeal of Saskatchewan's labour law overhaul.

The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour applied to appeal before the country's top court after losing lower court battles over the province's essential services law and changes to the Trade Union Act making it potentially tougher to unionize.

No court date has been set yet, but the Saskatchewan labour law appeal could be argued in front of the Supreme Court next spring.

The province argues the Trade Union Act changes bring more democracy in the workplace by requiring a secret ballot vote before a union can be certified.

The government also argued the essential services law introduced five years ago helps protect public safety in the event of a strike. It restricts how many workers in the public sector can with draw their services.

However, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour and numerous other unions say it infringes on rights guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, notably the freedom of association and freedom of expression.

SFL president Larry Hubich said he'd rather not take to the province to court, but he has no choice.

"On behalf of the people of the province, and on behalf of the generations of people that struggled for the rights we enjoy today, we believe it is our responsibility to challenge laws that appear to be unconstitutional, particularly when they concern people’s basic rights at work,”  Hubich said in a news release. 

With leave to appeal granted, unions and the provincial government will make their arguments before a panel of Supreme Court judges. A court date hasn't been set yet, but court officials said the hearing could happen next spring.

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