Until last Friday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was
Canada's only police force that was legislatively prohibited
from unionizing. On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada
ruled in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v.
Canada (Attorney General), 2015 SCC 1, that the exclusion
of RCMP members from the definition of "employee" under
the Public Service Labour Relations Act (Canada)
[PSLRA] and the Staff Relations Representative Program
("SRRP") infringed on RCMP members' freedom of
association under section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and
Freedoms. This decision overrules the Court's
previous decision in Delisle v. Canada (Deputy Attorney
General),  2 S.C.R. 989.
The Court held that, although the SRRP purported to provide a
scheme of labour relations that met the requirements of s 2(d), the
SRRP is an organization that RCMP members did not choose, do not
control and requires them to work within a structure that is part
of the RCMP management organization. As such, it does not provide
the meaningful and independent choice of process for collective
bargaining that is necessary to meet the purposes of s 2(d). The
Court further held that the exclusion of RCMP members from the
collective bargaining scheme under the PSLRA could not be
justified under s 1 of the Charter.
Despite the Court's finding of unconstitutionality regarding
the PSLRA and the SRRP, the Court did not go so far as to
say that the RCMP must be permitted to unionize under the
PSLRA. In keeping with its ruling that s 2(d) guarantees a
process and not a specific outcome, the Court allowed that
"Parliament remains free to enact any labour relations model
it considers appropriate to address the specific context in which
members of the RCMP discharge their duties, within the
constitutional limits imposed by the guarantee enshrined in s. 2
(d) and s. 1 of the Charter."
The Court granted Parliament 12 months to address its decision.
We will report on Parliament's measures when they are
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