Bill C-58 Amends Canada Labour Code, Industrial Relations Rules

Employment and Social Development Canada

First, the bill repeals the limited prohibition on replacement workers under Part I of the Canada Labour Code (Code) and replaces it with the following:

  • Employers will be banned from using several types of people to do the work of striking or locked out workers. This includes any employee or manager hired after the employer or union gives notice to bargain.
  • For employees hired before notice to bargain, employers will only be able to use employees if they normally worked at the location where the strike or lockout is taking place before notice to bargain is given.
  • Employers will also be prohibited from using contractors to fill in and do union work during a strike or lockout, regardless of when they were hired.
  • Employers will not be able to use volunteers, students or members of the public to fill in and do union work during a strike or lockout.
  • In addition, employers will be prohibited from allowing employees in a bargaining unit to "cross the picket line" and work, if the bargaining unit is involved in a full strike or lockout where all employees are expected to stop working.
  • Employers will be allowed to use replacement workers in exceptional circumstances to prevent threats to life, health or safety of the public; to prevent destruction or serious damage to the employer's property or premises; or to prevent serious environmental damage affecting the employer's property or premises. In these circumstances, employers will be required to offer bargaining unit members the opportunity to do the necessary work before using replacement workers.
  • A violation of the replacement worker or bargaining unit prohibitions will be an unfair labour practice under Part I of the Code. If a union believes an employer is illegally using these workers, they will be able to file a complaint with the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB).
  • The CIRB will investigate complaints and if necessary, will order the employer to stop. Violating the prohibitions will also be made an offence, and, if prosecuted and convicted, an employer could be subject to a fine of up to $100,000 per day.

Second, the bill amends the maintenance of activities process under Part I of the Code as follows:

  • Parties will be required to enter into an agreement no later than 15 days after notice to bargain has been given and will be required to immediately file their agreement with the CIRB and the Minister of Labour. This condition will apply even if the parties agree that no activities need to be maintained.
  • If the parties do not come to an agreement within 15 days after the notice to bargain has been given, they will be required to apply to the CIRB to decide which activities need to be maintained, if any.
  • The CIRB will be required to resolve these matters within 82 days and will be empowered to expedite proceedings. The Minister will continue to have the authority to refer questions to the CIRB about whether an agreement is sufficient to prevent an immediate and serious danger to the safety or health of the public.
  • Employers and unions will be required to have a maintenance of activities agreement in place before they can issue 72 hours' notice for a strike or lockout.

The Bill will come into force on June 20, 2025.

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