Restrictive Labour Laws

Labour Rights Under Attack

230 Restrictive labour laws

In the past three decades Canadians have seen a serious erosion of a fundamental and universal human right, their right to organize into a union and engage in full and free collective bargaining.  Federal and provincial governments have passed numerous labour laws since 1982 that have restricted, suspended or denied collective bargaining rights for Canadian workers.

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Title Jurisdiction Type of Legislation Datesort descending

Prince Rupert Grain Handling Operations Act, 1988 (Bill C-106, January)

The Act ended a strike by grain handlers, extended the expired collective agreement and provided for the appointment of an arbitrator to address all matters in dispute.

Federal Government Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration January 1988

Toronto Economic Summit Construction Act, 1988 (Bill 115, April)

The Act prevented a strike by construction workers and extended their collective agreements.

Ontario Back to work - settlement imposed April 1988

The University of Saskatchewan (Resumption of Instruction, Teaching and Examinations) Act, 1988 (April)

The Act ended a strike by teaching staff at the university, imposed a “cooling-off” period and ordered that a meeting take place between the parties to appoint a mediator, failing which one would be appointed by the Minister.

Saskatchewan Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration April 1988

The Regina Police Services (Continuation of Services) Act, 1988 (May)

The Act prevented a strike by police officers, extended the term of a collective agreement and imposed binding arbitration on the parties to conclude a new agreement.

Saskatchewan Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration May 1988

An Act to Amend the Industrial Relations Act, 1988 (Bill 73, December)

The amendments to the Act removed the right of municipal and regional police officers to strike and replaced it with binding arbitration.

New Brunswick Restrictions on scope of bargaining December 1988

An Act to Amend the Industrial Relations Act, 1989 (Bill 46, May)

The amendments to the Act enabled the provincial Cabinet to designate specific construction work a “major project” thereby giving the government the right to consolidate all bargaining units of construction workers into a single, new bargaining unit and severely restrict workers’ right to picket their worksites.

New Brunswick Restrictions on scope of bargaining May 1989

School Act, 1989 (Bill 67, July)

The Act excluded certain matters from the bargaining process for teachers including programs of study, professional methods and the hiring of teaching assistants.

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining July 1989

Teaching Profession Act, 1989 (Bill 20, July)

The Act split the new British Columbia Teaching Federation (BCTF) into separate bargaining units for each school board and excluded principals and vice-principals from union membership.

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining July 1989

Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Settlement Act, 1989 (Bill 58, October)

The Act ended a strike by public transit workers, extended the expired collective agreement and provided for binding arbitration on wages.

Ontario Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration October 1989

Government Services Resumption Act, 1989 (Bill C-49, December)

The Act ended a strike by ships’ crews and federal hospital employees, extended collective agreements and established conciliation boards to resolve matters in dispute between the parties.

Federal Government Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration December 1989

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