The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
The Saskatchewan Federation of Labour represents over 98,000 members, from 37 national and international unions. Our affiliate membership belongs to over 500 locals across Saskatchewan and represents dozens of communities. We strive to improve working people's lives throughout the province, whether organized or unorganized, and regardless of affiliation to the Federation. The SFL serves as Saskatchewan's "voice of working people" in speaking on local, provincial, national, and even international issues. We support the principles of social unionism and struggle for social and economic justice for all.
Just some of the issues on which the Federation continues to provide advocacy include occupational health and safety, pensions, labour standards, the minimum wage, equal pay for women, and childcare. Of course, the SFL also plays a role on the national and international stage, participating in the debate on such issues as human rights, poverty, medicare, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and homophobia, to name a few.
Bill 85: The Saskatchewan Employment Act
On December 4, 2012, the government of Saskatchewan introduced its 184-page Bill 85, which will amend 12 pieces of provincial legislation, including The Labour Standards Act, The Occupational Health and Safety Act, and The Trade Union Act. The new Saskatchewan Employment Act, which Bill 85 will establish, is a sweeping rewrite of Saskatchewan’s labour laws.
If The Saskatchewan Employment Act becomes the replacement for 12 existing laws in Saskatchewan, working people – especially young working people, new Canadians, and other vulnerable workers – will suffer from the watering down of current labour standards. The bill, for example, will make it easier for employers to be exempted from having to pay overtime. The new legislation will also water down the requirement to have shifts for an individual scheduled 8 hours apart.
Though it appears one of the major effects of Bill 85 will be to weaken current labour standards – standards that have helped protect the Saskatchewan way of life for decades – it will also make it more difficult for working people to join organizations that they choose to join. Thousands of working people could soon lose their right to bargain collectively - a constitutional right - and to join a union of their choosing, making labour relations between employers and working people’s organizations unnecessarily complex and expensive.
Bill 85 will virtually eliminate:
- The 8-Hour Work Day
- The 40-Hour Work Week
- Overtime Pay
- Stat Holidays
- Your ability to Join Certain Organizations of Your Choosing
- Your Ability to Join Demonstrations
- Your Ability to Access Certain Constitutional Rights
Click here to view the SFL's submission to the provincial government on Bill 85.
Working Together Never Outlives Its Usefulness
Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing. -- Arundhati Roy
Working people across Saskatchewan were disappointed today to learn that, in spite of the warnings of academics and the concerns of thousands, the Government of Saskatchewan has forced Bill 85 through the Legislature.
Earlier this morning, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal released an important decision recognizing that Canadian law has evolved to a point where a right to strike may be protected by the Constitution.