Labour Rights are Human Rights

OTTAWA - The Green Party today called on the federal government to take immediate action to guarantee that all workers in Canada have the right to organize and participate in the free collective-bargaining process.

"On Labour Day and throughout the year, the Green Party supports workers," said federal party leader Elizabeth May. "We believe in pay equity and in every worker's right to fair wages, healthy and safe working conditions as well as working hours compatible with a good quality of life.

"Labour rights are human rights," said Ms. May, "and we strongly endorse the Supreme Court's June 8 decision that the right to collective bargaining is a constitutional right guaranteed and protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms."

Green Party labour critic John Fryer said that the federal government must now take action in three areas to guarantee these rights for Canada's workers. "Firstly, all federal labour statutes should be updated to expressly guarantee the right to collective bargaining for all covered employees," he said.

"The Harper government also must find a way to ensure compliance with International Labour Standards, not only by the federal government but also by all provincial and territorial governments. Canada's disgraceful International Labour Organization record of violating these standards must end. The shocking fact is that our country has no formal mechanism for ratifying international treaties and obligations and this needs immediate remedy.

"Finally, we call upon the Prime Minister to demonstrate his support for Canadian workers by signing the Worker's Bill of Rights that has already been endorsed by all other party leaders."

Said Elizabeth May, "This Labour Day, the Green Party of Canada calls upon our government to give labour rights issues much greater priority in both its policy and its action agendas. After all, our own Supreme Court has made it clear that labour rights are guaranteed under Canada's Constitution."