Supreme Court: Unions Allowed To Film Scabs – Unions Protected Under Section 2(b) of the Charter

Update:

see source

The Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court. Alberta’s privacy statute violates the freedom of expression guarantees in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada declared on Friday. see: Alberta (Information and Privacy Commissioner) v. United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 40. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Alberta’s privacy statute violates freedom of expression guarantees in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Supreme Court of Canada declared on Friday.

The Supreme Court declared the provincial legislation invalid, though it suspended that ruling for 12 months. The order comes in a case that considered whether it was legal for a union to film replacement workers crossing a picket line.

“In our view, the legislation violates s. 2(b) because its impact on freedom of expression in the labour context is disproportionate and the infringement is not justified under s.1,” write Justices Rosalie Abella and Thomas Cromwell in the unanimous decision from the court.

The interior of the Supreme Court of Canada.
The interior of the Supreme Court of Canada. The court found that the benefits of the privacy guarantees sought by the Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act, 2003 are outweighed by freedom of expression under section 2 (b) of the Charter. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

In 2006, workers at the Palace Casino in West Edmonton Mall were engaged in a legal strike that lasted 305 days. The union filmed replacement workers crossing the picket line with the intention of publishing the videos on a website called casinoscabs.ca. Replacement workers complained to the provincial privacy commissioner, who found that the videos violated Alberta’s Personal Information Protection Act, 2003. The case went through judicial review, then the Alberta Court of Appeal, then was ultimately argued before the Supreme Court of Canada last June.

In its decision on Friday, the court found “without difficulty” that filming the workers is an act of expression. The court then reviewed the purposes of the privacy law, particularly in regard to technological advances that are making the world less private. The problem, the court found, is that the benefits of the privacy guarantees sought by the Alberta statute are outweighed by freedom of expression. This is particularly true, given that the filming was done in public and did not involve the collection of intimate biographical details, the judges write.

The Supreme Court of Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
The Supreme Court of Canada. On November 15, 2013 the Supreme Court of Canada found “without difficulty” that filming the scab workers was an act of expression, under section 2 of the Charter. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

“It goes without saying that by appearing in public, an individual does not automatically forfeit his or her interest in retaining control over the personal information which is thereby exposed.  This is especially true given the developments in technology that make it possible for personal information to be recorded with ease, distributed to an almost infinite audience, and stored indefinitely.  Nevertheless, PIPA’s restrictions operate in the context of a case like this one to impede the formulation and expression of views on matters of significant public interest and importance.”

The court said it does not condone the union’s activities, and emphasized that the right to free expression is not absolute. Rather, freedom of expression must be balanced against privacy rights. In the case of PIPA, the legislation tipped the balance too far because it limited the union’s right to communicate its cause to the public, the judges explain.

“In our view, this infringement of the right to freedom of expression is disproportionate to the government’s objective of providing individuals with control over personal information that they expose by crossing a picketline.”

Supreme Court of Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
Supreme Court of Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.ca
It's only fair to share...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterGoogle+Pin on Pinterestshare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on RedditEmail to someone

10 comments

  1. Its such as you read my mind! You seem to know a lot approximately this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I’ll definitely be back.

  2. Pretty part of content. I simply stumbled upon your web site and in accession capital to claim that I get in fact enjoyed account your blog posts.Anyway I’ll be subscribing on your feeds and even I fulfillment you get admission to persistently fast.

  3. Excellent blog! Do you have any suggestions for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are
    so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..Any recommendations? Kudos!

  4. I just want to mention I’m very new to blogs and absolutely savored this website. I’m very likely to bookmark your site. You definitely come with great well written articles. Regards for revealing your web site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.