As it was originally enacted, the Public Service Employment Act did not allow federal public sector workers to take part in political activities beyond simply casting their vote. PSAC and other federal unions challenged this in court and finally, in 1991, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a Federal Court of Appeal decision that struck down restrictions on the political rights of federal public service employees. The Court also confirmed that restrictions on political activities should not apply to the vast majority of federal workers.
One of the hallmarks of a healthy democracy is the ability of citizens to participate freely and actively in determining who they elect to govern and make decisions on their behalf.
As the fall federal election approaches, PSAC members are reminded that they have political rights and encouraged to take an active role in exercising them by ...
For some PSAC members – those covered by the Public Service Employment Act – some restrictions apply. None of the activities listed in the previous column should be carried out during your working hours.
There are also separate and special rules that apply if you wish to be a candidate in a federal, territorial, municipal or provincial election.
When determining how you want to exercise your democratic rights, follow some guiding principles:
If you are disciplined in any way for participation in a political activity, this can be grieved. If you are disciplined, contact your Local/ Branch or your Component for representation and advise your PSAC regional office. Any attempts by management to restrict your political rights should also be brought to the attention of the PSAC regional office.
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