August 28, 2020

The BC Building Trades welcomes today’s decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal denying the Charter challenge to B.C.’s Community Benefits Agreement brought by the Independent Contractors and Business Association (ICBA), the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC) and their friends.

The ruling upholds a decision by the B.C. Supreme Court earlier this year, where the Court determined that the applicants’ submissions with respect to union membership requirements under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms did not belong before the Court.

“Community Benefits Agreements are here to stay.” said Andrew Mercier, executive director of the BC Building Trades. “It has been made clear by all levels of the courts in B.C. that the proper course of action for the ICBA and their friends is to file their claim with the B.C. Labour Relations Board. They have consistently declined doing that. This is not an issue that rises to the level of the courts.”

In fact, charter arguments in the case had already been struck from the application last July and again in February of this year. The Supreme Court of BC ruled at that time that the BC Labour Relations Board was the proper forum for charter arguments.

While today’s ruling marks the third time a charter challenge of this province’s CBA framework has been struck by the judicial system, higher courts have repeatedly dismissed charter challenges to similar labour agreements in place across Canada.

The Merit Contractors Association, which is affiliated to the ICBA through Merit Canada, challenged Manitoba Hydro’s union membership policy in 2012. The case was dismissed by the Queen’s Bench of Manitoba and again on appeal.

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For more information, contact:

Andrew Mercier, BC Building Trades – 778.397.2220