Charter and Constitutional Law
Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Constitution Act provide guarantees that governments will respect the fundamental rights and freedoms of Canadians. Enforcing these rights, including the right to equality, freedom of expression, freedom of association and denominational rights, is crucial to ensuring workplace and community justice. Since the Charter became law in 1982, Cavalluzzo has been at the forefront of Charter litigation, seeking to use the creative force of the Charter to advance social justice issues.
Our lawyers have led the way in protecting freedom of association in Canada and has been involved in most of the Supreme Court of Canada's cases concerning s. 2(d) of the Charter, which protects that fundamental freedom. For example:
- we represented Michael Fraser and the United Food and Commercial Workers in Health Services and Support – Facilities Subsector Bargaining Association v British Columbia, which recognized the right to bargain collectively as a fundamental aspect of Canadian society protected under s. 2(d);
- together, we pushed s. 2(d) further in Ontario (Attorney General) v. Fraser, which held that s. 2(d)'s protections include workers' rights to join together to pursue workplace goals, make collective representations and to have their employer consider those representations in good faith; and
- more recently, we acted for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers in Saskatchewan Federation of Labour v. Saskatchewan, which held that the right to strike is an essential part of a meaningful collective bargaining process protected by the Charter.
Our Firm has also been active in the Ontario courts arguing Charter cases including, Canadian Union of Postal Workers v. Her Majesty in Right of Canada, which recognized the constitutional protection of the right to strike in the context of Ontario back-to-work legislation, which the court declared to be unconstitutional.
Other notable representations in constitutional and Charter cases includes:
- counsel to Labourers’ International Union of North America (“LIUNA”) and LIUNA Local 183 as intervenors in Toronto Star v. AG Ontario, which held that the application of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (“FIPPA”) to administrative tribunals impermissibly hindered the public from accessing documents filed with such tribunals and therefore violated the open courts principles embodied in s. 2(b) of the Charter;
- counsel to the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, DisAbled Women's Network Canada, Alberta Network for Mental Health, ARCH Disability Law Centre, National Pensioners Federation, Congress of Union Retirees of Canada in constitutional litigation seeking to prevent the end of door-to-door mail delivery; and
- counsel to the Coalition of Ontario Teachers' Affiliates intervening before the Supreme Court of Canada in British Columbia Teachers' Association v. British Columbia, which upheld the lower court's finding that the British Columbia government acted in bad faith and violated the constitutional rights of teachers in negotiations over working conditions.