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UN finds Canada, Ontario violate human rights


November 22, 2010
By UFCW Canada

Topics

November 22, 2010,
Geneva – The UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) has ruled that Canada
and Ontario, through Ontario’s ban on farm unions, violate the human rights of
the more than 100,000 migrant and domestic agriculture workers in that
province.

November 22, 2010,
Geneva – The United Nations' International Labour Organization (ILO) has ruled that Canada
and Ontario, through Ontario’s ban on farm unions, violate the human rights of
the more than 100,000 migrant and domestic agriculture workers in that
province.

The ruling follows a
complaint filed in March 2009 by United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW)
Canada
.

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The ILO is the United
Nations
agency responsible for formulating international labour standards including
basic labour rights.

The ILO ruling was
handed down in Geneva (www.ufcw.ca/ilo).
It found that Ontario’s Agricultural Employees Act, 2002 (AEPA) – which denies
all Ontario agriculture workers the right to join a union and engage in
collective bargaining – is a violation of human rights under two United
Nations
conventions: Convention No. 87 – Freedom of Association and Protection
of the Right to Organize
, and Convention No. 98 – Right to Organize and
Collective Bargaining
.

Canada is a signatory to
Convention 87 and supported Convention 98.

The ILO ruling
reinforces a November 17, 2008 Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that found the
AEPA violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms by denying Ontario farm
workers their freedom of association. The Ontario government appealed that
decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has twice before upheld the
Charter guarantee of collective bargaining rights. The Supreme Court heard the
appeal in December 2009 and its final and definitive ruling is pending.