Wal-Mart seeks to change labour laws

Retail giant claims Saskatchewan's labour law violates company's Charter rights
By Uyen Vu
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/13/2004

This summer’s certification of a Wal-Mart Canada store in Jonquière, Que., may have grabbed international attention, but more significant changes may be afoot if the company succeeds in a legal proceeding in Saskatchewan.

The world’s largest employer, already known for breaking new ground in retail practices, is out to change one of the most central tenets in labour relations: the prohibition against employer interference during union drives.

Wal-Mart claims that Saskatchewan’s Trade Union Act violates the company’s right to expression as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The disputed section gives the provincial labour board the power to reject or dismiss any employee application if it is made “in whole or in part on the advice of, or as a result of influence or interference or intimidation by, the employer or employer’s agent.”