Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

Proceed with Caution, or Stop Wherever Possible - Ongoing Paradoxes in Legalized Labour Politics Commentary on Cases, Legislation and Policy

Document type Article
Author Bartkiw, Timothy J.
Journal Canadian Labour & Employment Law Journal
Volume 15
Date 2009-2010
Pages 77-100


It is fair to say that the first two decades of labour's experience with Charter litigation raised a note of caution concerning its utility as a strategy for labour empowerment. The early refusal of the Supreme Court of Canada, in its widely known "labour trilogy" cases.' to find space within s. 2(d) of the Charter for protection of the right to engage in collective bargaining and the right to strike lett many within the labour movement and the academic community doubtful about labour's prospects in the realm of Charter litigation; such observers suggested that labour must, at a minimum, proceed with caution. There also remained liberal "romantics," who were convinced of the Charter's progressive potential for labour.2 Others associated the proliferation of Charter litigation with the rise of a so- called "Court Party," a complex network of social actors and activists with an increasingly privileged status in Canadian society.'