Labour Studies Index

Updated: 2022-05-16

A Decade Later: The Legacy of the Supreme Court of Canada’s Health Services Decision on Workers’ Rights

Document type Article
Author Walchuk, Brad
Journal Global Labour Journal
Volume 10
Date 2019
Pages 51-68


The year 2017 marked the ten-year anniversary of the Health Services case, a precedent-setting decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that ruled collective bargaining is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This article explores the impact and legacy of BC Health Services, and finds that while workers’ constitutional rights have been expanded under the Charter over the past decade, governments nevertheless continue to violate these rights. It concludes that the legacy of the case is not an enhanced level of protection for these rights to be enjoyed fully, but rather that the default option has been and will continue to be a financial penalty for the state in instances in which they violate workers’ rights.