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National Crown Counsels' Association asked to endorse international body's condemnation of Quebec Government

    WINNIPEG, May 11 /CNW/ - The president of the Canadian Association of
Crown Counsel, Claude Girard, plans to seek the national association's
endorsement of a ruling by the International Labour Organization (ILO) that
condemned the Quebec Government for imposing a seven-year contract on
500,000 public sector workers in Quebec. The ILO is an agency of the United
    The Quebec law imposed in December 2005 a 33-month wage freeze
retroactive to June 30, 2003 on Quebec public sector workers, followed by
annual increases of two per cent.
    The ILO ruling, issued last March, asked Quebec to make sweeping changes
to the legislation, known as Law 43. It says that Law 43 violates Quebec Crown
Counsels' fundamental right to exercise effectively the right to freedom of
association, recognized by several international conventions to which Canada
is a signatory.
    The Geneva-based ILO found that the law denies Quebec Crown Counsel the
right to bargain collectively and that it takes away their right to strike
without granting them an alternative procedure for the settlement of disputes
such as mediation, conciliation or arbitration. Furthermore, the ILO found
that the Quebec Government denies criminal and penal prosecutors the right to
join a trade union and deprives them of protection against hindrances,
reprisals or sanctions related to the exercise of trade union rights.
    The CACC President plans to seek the endorsement at the association's
national convention in Winnipeg on May 11 and 12, being held at the York
    "The Quebec Provincial government and the Government of Canada ought to
be ashamed. According to the ILO, the labour practices created in Law 43 put
Canada and Quebec in the same category as such notorious states as Benin, El
Salvador, Colombia and Zimbabwe," Mr. Girard said.
    The ILO finding was one of several in response to complaints filed with
the international organization in 2006 by a dozen of Quebec labour unions,
including both Crown Counsels' Associations in Quebec: the Association of
Attorney-General's Prosecutors of Quebec (ASPGQ) and the Association des
juristes de l'Etat (AJE).
    The ILO emphasized that lack of protection from union activity and the
prohibition on collective bargaining for the prosecutors amounted to
anti-union discrimination and that it "is one of the most serious violations
of freedom of association, as it may jeopardize the very existence of trade
unions, and that legislation should lay down explicitly remedies and penalties
against anti-union discrimination" in order to meet the principles of freedom
of association embodied in Conventions Nos. 87 and 98 of the International
Labour Organization.
    The ILO requested the Quebec Government to ensure that criminal and penal
prosecuting attorneys "have the right to join organizations of their choice"
and asked that the ILO be informed of further developments.
    The ILO urged the Government of Quebec to avoid in future using
legislative intervention and imposing conditions of employment without full
and frank consultations with the parties concerned.
    The ILO requests the Government of Quebec to review the excessive
sanctions provided for in Law 43 and asks that in future the Government
establish a bargaining procedure that would have the confidence of the parties
concerned and would allow them to settle their differences by having recourse
to conciliation or mediation and by voluntarily calling on an independent
arbitrator to resolve their differences. The arbitration decisions should be
binding on both parties and should be fully and swiftly executed.

    The Canadian Association of Crown Counsel is a voluntary group of
provincial and federal lawyers and law officers associations representing
6,000 Crown counsel working for provincial governments across Canada as well
as the federal government. Its main goal is to promote the interests of all
Crown counsel, particularly the improvement of their working conditions.

    The ILO ruling link

    French -
    English -

For further information: Claude Girard, President, Canadian Association
of Crown Counsel, (514) 220-1634