CUPE won an important court battle in Quebec last week, when the Supreme Court struck down a residency requirement for municipal employees.
Ten years ago, Michl0065 Godbout, who worked for the city of Longueuil as a police dispatcher, was fired after she moved to neighbouring Chambly. Since then, CUPE has been supporting a legal challenge, defending the principle that employees should be free to live where they choose.
In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the residency requirement contravened the Quebec Charter of Rights and Freedoms which provides that every person has a right to respect for his private life. The judges reasoned that the choice of where to live is very personal, arguing that in the absence of compelling reasons, there should be no restrictions on that decision.
A total of 81 Quebec municipalities are believed to have similar rules on their books. Because the Quebec Charter served as the basis for the ruling, the same protection may not exist in other provinces.
Michl0065 Godbout is expected to return to work with the Longueuil police department within a few weeks.