Saskatchewan fixes essential services law

Amendments come after top court found unconstitutional practices
By Sabrina Nanji
|Canadian Labour Reporter|Last Updated: 11/02/2015

After its essential services laws were struck down as unconstitutional by the country’s top court earlier this year, the government of Saskatchewan has now come up with the modified legislation.

Bill 183, otherwise known as the Saskatchewan Employment (Essential Services) Amendment Act, was introduced in the provincial legislature on Oct. 15 following a directive from the Supreme Court of Canada, which shot down previous practice as unconstitutional in January after a legal challenge from organized labour.

As part of the changes — the result of consultations with public sector employers and unions — the definition of "essential services" will be removed and an independent third-party tribunal will be established to settle any conflict. Previously, the government made the final call as to whether a service should be considered "essential."