A Decade Later: The Legacy of the Supreme Court of Canada's Health Services Decision on Workers' Rights

  • Brad Walchuk Brock University (sessional) Independent Researcher


The year 2017 marked the ten-year anniversary of the Health Services case, a precedent-setting decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that ruled collective bargaining is protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This article explores the impact and legacy of BC Health Services, and finds that while workers’ constitutional rights have been expanded under the Charter over the past decade, governments nevertheless continue to violate these rights. It concludes that the legacy of the case is not an enhanced level of protection for these rights to be enjoyed fully, but rather that the default option has been and will continue to be a financial penalty for the state in instances in which they violate workers’ rights. 

KEYWORDS  labour rights; Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; human rights; health services

Author Biography

Brad Walchuk, Brock University (sessional) Independent Researcher

Brad Walchuk

Sessional Faculty, Brock University and Independent Researcher

1280 Main St. West, KTH B111

Hamilton, Ont.

L8S 4M4


Brad Walchuk works as a staff representative for a post-secondary academic union in Ontario, Canada. He holds a Master’s degree from Brock University, where he occasionally teaches in the Department of Labour Studies. He is a regular contributor to rankandfile.ca and his academic work has appeared in Labor Studies JournalJournal of Workplace Rights, and Global Labour Journal.