Are workers’ rights in Canada being violated by forced membership in labour unions? Is Canada lagging behind the rest of the world in protecting workers’ human rights?


On 01 October 2007, Swedish human rights lawyer Jan Södergren explored the topic in a presentation to an AIMS luncheon entitled, “To Be or Not to Be”. He is a well-known speaker and the author of numerous legal articles related to constitutional and human rights cases. His work in many high-profile cases has advanced the rights of employees and citizens throughout the European Union. Södergren represented the unionized employees in the landmark Evaldsson case at the European Court of Human Rights, which established that unions cannot take dues, including for political and other purposes not related to workplace needs from unionized employees who are not also union “members”.


Södergren was in Halifax as part of a national tour with the Canadian LabourWatch Association. AIMS luncheon with Södergren explored the issue of employee rights in a union shop. As one of the last countries to allow government legislation and collective bargaining agreements to force workers to become union members is Canada allowing workers’ human rights to be violated?


To view the PowerPoint presentation, click here. 


The presentation generated a lot of debate, which continued after the event. Here registrants Hector Jacques of Jacques Whitford, Steve Chipman of Sun Life, and Mitchell Raymond and Peter Greer of the Nova Scotia & PEI Regional Council of Carpenters, Millwrights and Allied Workers discuss the issues raised in the presentation.



[AUDIO] Click here to listen to Sodergren’s talk.