More than 10,000 Canadians received a medically-assisted death in 2021: report
Quebec Superior Court suspends Bill 96’s translation requirement until constitutionality determined
The Ontario government has given Maggie an ultimatum: the disabled teen can lose her funding or her independence
FBI took 11 sets of classified material from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home while investigating possible Espionage Act violations (US)
Ontario class action settlement reclassifies volunteers as employees, setting new precedent
Availability of Judicial Review in SABS Disputes
Are masking policies still valid?
Justice Canada releases commission report on impact of lack of legal aid in family law disputes
Harmonized sales tax part of maximum amount of attendant care benefits owed by insurer: court
New rules coming next month to help Canadians with cancelled and delayed flights
Stephen King set to testify for govt in books merger trial (US)
New law program in Quebec to begin next fall, a first in 50 years
The Impact of the Lack of Legal Aid in Family Law Cases
SCC rules that when someone is required by their partner to wear a condom but do not, they could be guilty of sexual assault.
Big Plastic suing feds over single-use ban — again
Tim Hortons offers coffee and doughnut as proposed settlement in class action lawsuit
The SCC has refused to hear the appeal to declare the renewal of the state of health emergency by the Quebec government invalid
Federal privacy commissioner investigating controversial ArriveCAN app
Kraken, a U.S. Crypto Exchange, Is Suspected of Violating Sanctions (US)
Ontario court certifies class action on former patients’ anxiety from notice of risk of infection
The stakes couldn’t be higher as Canada’s top court decides whether to hear climate class action lawsuit
Professor Barnali Choudhury selected by EU as trade and sustainable development expert
The Supreme Court decision on the ‘Ghomeshi’ amendments will help sexual assault victims access justice
AFN Reaches $20 B Final Settlement Agreement to Compensate First Nations Children and Families

Federal NDP, unions applaud move to ban scabs in event of employee strike

Including striking workers in a proposed anti-scab bill was a “major component” of negotiations while hashing out a confidence and supply agreement with the Liberal government, according to the NDP.


PHOTO: Striking workers and their supporters cheer at the De Havilland picket line at the Downsview plant in Toronto, on Tuesday, August 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov


OTTAWA — Including striking workers in a proposed anti-scab bill was a “major component” of negotiations while hashing out a confidence and supply agreement with the Liberal government, according to the NDP.

The deal promises to introduce a new law by the end of next year that would ban the use of replacement workers – also known as “scabs” – if unionized workers in federally regulated sectors are locked out or on strike.

“It’s a huge win,” said Matthew Green, the NDP’s deputy labour critic.

“The use of importing replacement workers … completely undermines the democratic principles of having unions and collective bargaining.”

The Liberals committed to limit the use of replacement workers in their 2021 election platform, and that is repeated in the mandate letter for Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan.

But there’s a key difference: the mandate letter specifies the rules would apply when workers are locked out by their employer. The deal with the NDP also includes workers who are on strike.

A spokesperson for O’Regan’s office said the change is “reflective of ongoing conversations and feedback from stakeholders,” but Green said the NDP is taking credit for “using our power” to put it on the table.

The Canadian Labour Congress said that difference is important because almost 85 per cent of federal work stoppages are strikes, not lockouts.

Unions have been lobbying for the change for decades, and both the Bloc Quebecois and the NDP have introduced anti-scab bills in the past. They’ve all been defeated by Liberal and Conservative votes.

In 2007 then-Bloc MP Richard Nadeau told the House of Commons he wanted to amend the Canada Labour Code “to prohibit strikebreakers” and “end the disparity between the labour codes of Canada and Quebec.”

Quebec’s law was adopted by the Rene Levesque government in 1977 after a number of bitter labour conflicts. British Columbia is the only other Canadian jurisdiction with a similar law, which has been on the books since 1993.

The Public Service Alliance of Canada, whose 240,000 members include the federal public service, said it welcomes the pledge. But national president Chris Aylward said the government “must move quickly to enact it.”

That cautious optimism was echoed by Mark Hancock, the national president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees.

“I’ll really believe it when I see it, but we’re really happy about it,” he said.

Hancock said bringing in replacement workers shifts the power dynamic in a labour dispute.

“It’s like dropping a grand piano on a scale,” he said.

“When we go on strike and we’re giving up that paycheque, it’s a strong incentive for us to stay at the bargaining table and work out a deal. Employers who can utilize scab labour don’t have that same incentive to negotiate in good faith.”

Toronto labour lawyer Chantel Goldsmith said anti-replacement worker laws, on the other hand, give unions “a ton of leverage” during collective bargaining and could be “hugely detrimental” to employers.

“If the employer knows that they can’t have a replacement worker, then their hands are almost tied in that they have to kind of agree with the union’s demands,” she said.

A 2009 study in the journal Canadian Public Policy found that anti-scab laws lead to more strikes – but shorter ones.

In addition to the federal public service, the proposed rules would apply to many federal Crown corporations as well as broadcasting and telecommunications companies, grain elevators, feed and seed mills, and transportation infrastructure including airlines, airports, ports, marine shipping, railways and road transportation services.

Given those important transportation links, there could be wider implications on supply chains and other businesses if strikes become more frequent.

“After two years of pandemic where small businesses have been hurt by the pandemic, many of them had to contract a huge level of debt,” said Jasmin Guenette, the vice-president of national affairs with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

“The impact of work stoppage for those large companies has a direct impact on many small businesses … because they rely on (that) infrastructure to get access to the products that they need, or products they need to ship.”

The hope for the NDP is that provincial governments will follow the federal government’s lead, once the changes become law.

“We have to hold them accountable to the commitments they’ve made in the agreement,” Green said.

The federal labour minister said the Liberals will draft the bill carefully.

“It is important that we get this right and we’ll be consulting with stakeholders and conducting policy research and analysis before legislation is brought forward,” O’Regan said in a statement.


Want direct access to the latest LITN content?

Stay in the loop ➞ Subscribe to LITN instant notifications.
Receive the latest content delivered directly to your device.
Unsubscribe at anytime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I agree to LITN's Terms & Conditions.

Latest News


Join the LITN Newsletter ➞ the latest news delivered to your inbox. Unsubscribe at any time.


Instagram Feed