COLLECTIVE BARGAINING - Certification - Application - Bars to certification

Law360 Canada (May 9, 2023, 6:15 AM EDT) -- Appeal by the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association (ACAA) from the dismissal of their application for judicial review of the decision of the Alberta Labour Relations Board (Board), that dismissed ACAA’s Charter application and its application to be certified as bargaining agent for all Crown Prosecutors in Alberta. With the support of its members, ACAA applied to be certified as the bargaining agent for all Crown Prosecutors in Alberta. At the same time, ACAA and six named Crown prosecutors brought an application seeking a declaration that s. 10, 13, 16(2) and 74 of the Public Service Employee Relations Act (PSERA) breached their right to freedom of association as protected by s.2(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). PSERA designated the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) as the sole bargaining agent for a province-wide bargaining unit consisting of all employees of the Government of Alberta. ACAA argued that Crown Prosecutors could not collectively bargain as part of the province-wide bargaining unit represented by AUPE because doing so would compromise prosecutorial independence, place Crown Prosecutors in conflicts of interest, and jeopardize the integrity of the justice system. ACAA argued that PSERA did not provide Crown Prosecutors with meaningful access to a collective bargaining process and therefore breached s.2(d) of the Charter. The Board concluded that PSERA did not violate the s.2(d) Charter rights of Crown Prosecutors because they could collectively bargain as part of the province-wide employee bargaining unit if the conditions in PSERA were met. Further, the Board stated that it was not for the Board to determine the optimal bargaining structure for Crown Prosecutors since that was a policy choice for the legislature. The sole issue was whether the current structure in PSERA was unconstitutional....
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