International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union - Canada Area Local 500 v. Canada [1994] 1 S.C.R. 150: Freedom of association - Right to strike - Back-to-work - Life, liberty and security of the person

Present: Lamer C.J. and La Forest, L'Heureux-Dubé, Sopinka, Gonthier, Cory, McLachlin, Iacobucci and Major JJ.

ON APPEAL FROM THE FEDERAL COURT OF APPEAL

Constitutional law - Charter of Rights - Freedom of association - Right to strike - Back-to-work legislation not violating s. 2(d) of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Maintenance of Ports Operations Act, 1986, S.C. 1986, c. 46.

Constitutional law - Charter of Rights - Life, liberty and security of the person - Right to strike - Back-to-work legislation not violating s. 7 of Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - Maintenance of Ports Operations Act, 1986, S.C. 1986, c. 46.

LA FOREST J. - We are all of the view that the thrust of the reasoning applicable to s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms adopted in earlier decisions of this Court to determine the scope of freedom of association as it related to the right of union members to strike applies as well to the determination of the right to liberty under s. 7 for the same purpose. This approach completely defeats the general argument of the appellants for holding the Act as a whole invalid under s. 7.

So far as the specific argument that the penalty attached to the refusal to return to work is concerned, that prohibition is intended to enforce the regulatory scheme, and must be read in that context. It is not an absolute offence, but a strict liability offence. The appeal is, therefore, dismissed with costs throughout

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