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.


Title Jurisdiction Type of Legislation Datesort ascending

Education Accountability Act, 2000 (Bill 74, May)

The Act imposed a series of terms and conditions of employment on teachers and reduced the scope of matters open to collective bargaining.

Ontario Restrictions on scope of bargaining May 2000

Public Education Support Staff Collective Bargaining Assistance Act, 2000 (Bill 7, April)

The Act ended a strike by support workers and cleaning staff in public schools and imposed a collective agreement.

British Columbia Back to work - settlement imposed April 2000

Ground Ambulance Services Act, 1999 (Bill 9, October)

The Act ended a strike and required the ambulance workers to return to work.

Nova Scotia Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration October 1999

An Act respecting the provision of nursing services and pharmaceutical services, 1999 (Bill 72, July)

The Act ended a strike by nurses, imposed certain terms of a collective agreement and appointed an inquiry by the Essential Services Council into work stoppages by pharmacists.

Quebec Back to work - settlement imposed July 1999

Budget Implementation Act, 1999 (Bill C-71, June)

The Act suspended the right of federal government employees to use binding arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism during negotiations with Treasury Board in 1999.

Federal Government Restrictions on scope of bargaining June 1999

An Act to ensure that essential services are provided to the Bureau d’habitation de Montréal, 1999 (Bill 70, June)

The Act suspended the right to strike for workers at the municipal housing office in Montréal.

Quebec Back to work - settlement imposed June 1999

Resumption of Services (Nurses-SUN) Act, 1999 (Bill 23, April)

The Act ended a strike by nurses, extended the expired collective agreement and imposed a two percent wage increase per year for the following three years.

Saskatchewan Suspension of bargaining rights April 1999

Health and Community Services Resumption and Continuation Act, 1999 (April)

The Act ended a strike by members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses Union

Newfoundland and Labrador Back to work - settlement imposed April 1999

Government Services Act, 1999 (Bill C-76, March)

The Act ended rotating strikes by blue-collar federal public service employees, extended the expired collective agreements and permitted the government to set the terms and conditions of employment.  It was passed after a tentative agreement to end the dispute had been reached between the parties.

Federal Government Back to work - settlement imposed March 1999

Prevent Unionization with Respect to Community Participation under the Ontario Works Act, 1998 (Bill 22, December)

The Act prevented workers participating in mandatory “workfare” programs from joining a union, bargaining collectively and/or striking.

Ontario Denial of right to join a union December 1998