CA Gov Signs Bill Banning Use of Replacement Workers

Employment and Social Development Canada

The Government of Canada believes in free and fair collective bargaining. Replacement workers distract from the bargaining table, prolong disputes and harm labour relations for years after.

Yesterday, Bill C-58, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code and the Industrial Relations Board Regulations, 2012, received royal assent. This legislation was developed through extensive consultations with unions and employers and received unanimous support in Parliament. It will improve labour relations, protect workers' right to strike, limit interruptions to collective bargaining and provide greater stability to our economy during federal labour disputes.

Bill C-58 represents one of the most significant changes to federal collective bargaining rules since the 1990s. Specifically, Bill C-58 has two main components:

  • Banning employers from using replacement workers to do the work of unionized employees who are on strike or locked out. Exceptions would apply in situations where there are threats to the health and safety of the public or threats of serious damage to an employer's property.
  • Improving the maintenance of activities process by requiring employers and unions to come to an agreement early in the bargaining process to determine what work needs to continue during a strike or lockout to ensure the health and safety of the public. The parties will have to reach an agreement no later than 15 days after notice to bargain is issued. If they cannot come to an agreement, the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB) will decide what activities need to be maintained within 82 days.

The CIRB is the independent administrative tribunal that resolves workplace disputes and certain appeals that arise under the Canada Labour Code (the Code). It will be responsible for enforcing these new changes. These provisions will apply to employers and workers in federally regulated sectors covered by Part I of the Code, such as interprovincial and international air, rail, road and marine transportation, banks, telecommunications and postal and courier services.

This legislation will improve labour relations, protect workers' right to strike, and keep parties focused on the bargaining table where the best deals are made, for workers, for employers, and for our economy. These measures will come into force on June 20, 2025, to give the CIRB time to prepare for its new responsibilities.

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