Supreme Court to only hear from big governments and big unions in landmark case

Canadian Taxpayers Federation
News release

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has rejected the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) application to intervene in the final stage of the British Columbia Teachers Federation’s (BCTF) decade-long legal battle with the British Columbia government.

This potentially landmark case could impact the ability of governments to control public sector costs.

The CTF sought intervenor status in order to offer a taxpayer perspective, who ultimately end up on the hook for the union contracts negotiated by governments across the country. It was the only citizens’ group to apply.

In contrast, the SCC accepted 12 unions (in six groups) as intervenors. Seven governments will also act as intervenors (Federal, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador).

“This is a sad day for taxpayers – the highest court in the land would rather hear from big unions and big governments than the people who pay their salaries through their taxes,” said CTF Federal Director Aaron Wudrick. “With 12 government unions lining up with the BCTF, our different perspective on these issues was desperately needed.”

The BCTF had sent a letter to the SCC asking them to reject the CTF’s request to intervene. They did not oppose any other applicant.

The CTF argued in its application to intervene that “these appeals have clear implications for the ability of governments to make decisions on matters involving social and fiscal policy, to change course on those issues in light of changing socio-economic conditions and political feedback, and to be influenced by public mobilization through campaigning, advocacy, and ultimately, voting.”

“We would have loved to have made our concerns known to the court,” continued Wudrick. “The CTF wanted to stand up for the ability of duly-elected governments to carry out their democratic mandate, and for taxpayers, who are always stuck with the cost of union-friendly sweetheart deals.”

The case is expected to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada this fall.

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