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Saskatchewan’s Public Services Laws Limiting the Right of “Essential Services Employees"

In January, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld the unions’ right to challenge the constitutionality of provisions in Saskatchewan’s public services laws limiting the right of “essential services employees” to strike. So now the government has proposed changes to the law to address the Court’s concerns, including:

  • Striking the definition of essential services so that the organizations involved can decide for themselves what services are essential for them
  • Establishing an independent body called the Essential Services Tribunal to resolve essential services disputes
  • Providing for binding mediation-arbitration when an essential services agreement interferes with strikes or lockout
  • Reducing the cooling off period for essential services disputes from 14 to 7 days.