Public Services Sustainability Act
- The Manitoba government will repeal the Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28)
- PDPS will seek leave from Supreme Court of Canada
- PDPS disappointed by Court of Appeal ruling
- Court Challenge Victory
- Media Coverage
- AESES Posts
- Bill 28 – The Public Services Sustainability Act
The Manitoba government will repeal the Public Services Sustainability Act (Bill 28) (November 24, 2021)
PDPS will seek leave from Supreme Court of Canada to hear wage-freeze appeal (November 3, 2021)
The Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS) will be seeking leave from the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal of Government of Manitoba’s public sector wage-freeze legislation, announced Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck on behalf of the PDPS.
“Over 120,000 public sector workers and their families are relying on Manitoba’s unions to have their backs when it comes to their right to collective bargaining,” said Rebeck. “When we launched our constitutional challenge to the Pallister government’s wage-freeze law, we knew it would not be a quick process. But we will always stick up for the rights of workers.”
In October, the Manitoba Court of Appeal overturned a ruling by the Court of Queen’s Bench that the Pallister government’s public sector wage-freeze law (Bill 28) was unconstitutional. Rebeck added that while it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear an appeal, the PDPS will be putting strong legal arguments forward on behalf of working families.
“We won round one and government won round two. Now we are asking the Supreme Court to consider round three,” said Rebeck. “Manitoba’s dedicated public sector workers have been there for us, before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve to have their rights respected by government.”
Rebeck added that the PDPS has until mid-December to submit their leave application to the Supreme Court.
PDPS disappointed by Court of Appeal ruling, but will continue to fight for the right to free and fair collective bargaining (October 13, 2021)
The Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS) is disappointed by today’s Manitoba Court of Appeal decision, but remains committed to standing up for workers and their right to free and fair collective bargaining, announced Manitoba Federation of Labour President Kevin Rebeck today on behalf of the PDPS.
“While this is not the outcome we were hoping for, we will continue to fight for the rights of workers to collective bargaining,” said Rebeck. “We will be reviewing the Court of Appeal’s ruling in detail and we expect to come to a decision about our next steps in the near future, including the prospect of an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.”
While the Court of Appeal decision overturns last year’s ruling by the Court of Queen’s Bench that the Pallister government’s public sector wage-freeze law (Bill 28) was unconstitutional, Rebeck added that Charter challenges are rarely quick or easy processes.
Rebeck noted that the PDPS is pleased that the Court of Appeal upheld that the government did interfere in the collective bargaining process between the University of Manitoba Faculty Association and the University of Manitoba in 2016.
“We respect the ruling made by the Court of Appeal, but we are proud of the strong arguments our team put forward at court,” said Rebeck. “Over 120,000 public sector workers and their families are relying on Manitoba’s unions to have their backs when it comes to their right to collective bargaining.”
Rebeck added that the provincial government has continually thanked Manitoba’s public sector workers for their service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlighted that if the government truly valued these workers, then it would stop fighting them in court and stay out of their way while they negotiate fair deals with their employers.
You can find the decision here.
Court Challenge Victory (June 12, 2020)
AESES is extremely pleased to share with all of our members that the judge for the trial contesting the constitutionality of the Pallister Government’s Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA) ruled in favour of the unions.
In a scathing decision, Justice McKelvey stated “I have concluded that the PSSA operates as a draconian measure that has inhibited and dramatically reduced the unions’ bargaining power and violates s. 2(d) associational rights.”
What does this mean for AESES bargaining? The judge’s decision, in this case, results in the Act being struck down, so it is not in effect and cannot be proclaimed into law. Unfortunately, there’s no way to anticipate the Government’s reaction to this ruling; however, they essentially have three options at this point in time:
- They can appeal the decision.
- They can introduce a new bill with revised legislation that they think will pass judicial scrutiny.
- They can do nothing and accept the ruling.
As for bargaining, we will need to have discussions with our bargaining teams on how to best proceed given this news and we will be scheduling meetings to discuss the impact of the ruling. The Universities will have likely received their mandates from the province, so this is not to say that we’ll see significant monetary gains at the bargaining table. This is further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the very real possibility of a loss of revenues (particularly from a potential reduction of international students) for post-secondary institutions. Regardless, this decision at least opens the door to having those monetary discussions, where the door was previously slammed shut.
AESES would like to congratulate all of the members of the Myers LLP legal team who worked diligently in preparing and presenting this case. This has been a long road for the unions that coalesced into the Partnership to Defend Public Services, taking over three years to the culmination of this decision…one that sets an important legal precedent for union workers and, especially, those in Manitoba.
The full court decision can be viewed here.
Manitoba government wins appeal of court decision against wage freeze legislation (CBC, October 13, 2021)
Manitoba’s public-sector workers get their day in court against unconstitutional wage freeze law (MFL press release, November 17, 2019)
Partnership to defend public services will continue to fight the Pallister government’s attacks on public sector workers (MFL press release, July 20, 2018)
Government’s Directive No Excuse: Labour Rights Prevail (PDF) (Winnipeg Free Press/Errol Black Chair, February 9, 2018)
Public sector unions file notice of motion for injunction against unconstitutional labour law (MFL press release, October 20, 2017)
Labour coalition sues province over wage-control law (Winnipeg Free Press, July 4, 2017)
Manitoba public-sector unions launch court challenge over wage freezes (CBC News, July 4, 2017)
Labour groups file injunction against Tories (Winnipeg Sun, July 4, 2017)
July 4, 2017
The Partnership to Defend Public Services has filed a statement of claim today in the Court of Queen’s Bench challenging the constitutionality of the Public Services Sustainability Act (PSSA). As the AESES President, I was proud to stand among the union leaders at today’s media announcement. Be sure to watch your local news this evening to see how it all unfolded.
We have also created a dedicated page on the AESES website to consolidate information relating to the legal challenge of the PSSA. Feel free to visit the page for ongoing updates and information, including the press release that was issued in advance of today’s media announcement.
Laurie R. Morris, President
June 15, 2017
AESES is pleased to inform our members that the Confederation of Canadian Unions (CCU) recently wrote to Premier Brian Pallister to call upon the Manitoba government to respect the fundamental rights of workers and end its wrongheaded austerity agenda. This is in response to the passing of Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act in the Manitoba Legislature.
To view the letter from the CCU, please visit their website at the following link: http://www.ccu-csc.ca/ccu-call
As previously reported to our members, AESES has joined the Partnership to Defend Public Services which is coordinating to defend the rights of Manitoba public-sector employees. We will be sure to forward any formal communications that come from this group to our membership as they become available.
We would like to thank the CCU for their solidarity and support in this important fight.
June 8, 2017
On Friday, June 2nd, a number of media outlets reported that Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act had passed third reading in the Manitoba Legislature. This act imposes severe restrictions for public-sector workplaces insofar as wages and other monetary factors are concerned.
Although our AESES collective agreements are not set to expire until 2019, this new law will direct that our general salary increases for the following four years (2019 to 2023) are already set at 0%, 0%, 0.75% and 1.0% respectively.
The Pallister Government has made their intentions clear. Regardless of when the act is proclaimed, the impact of the government’s new law is already being felt at the bargaining table. Instead of negotiating at the bargaining table, the Pallister Government has chosen heavy-handed legislation to get their way.
Manitoba’s public-sector unions have come together to create a Partnership to Defend Public Services and will launch a legal challenge. AESES has joined this partnership and is actively supporting the legal challenge in order to defend the bargaining rights of our membership.
All communications going forward will be organized through the Partnership to Defend Public Services. As they become available, we will ensure they are forwarded on to our membership.
Bill 28 – The Public Services Sustainability Act
Read through the PSSA Act for a better understanding of what’s at stake for unions and workers in Manitoba.