Restrictive Labour Laws

Labour Rights Under Attack

227 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

Labour Relations Statues Law Amendment Act, 2005 (Bill 144, June)

The Act repealed posting of decertification information and disclosure of trade union salaries.  The Act however was discriminatory by its selective reinstatement of the long-standing card certification provisions only limited to the construction industry.

Ontario Restrictions on certification June 2005

Health Sector (Facilities Subsector) Collective Agreement Act, 2004 (Bill 37, April)

The Act ended a three-day-old strike of 43,000 health support employees who work in hospitals and long-term care facilities across the province. 

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining April 2004

Resumption and Continuation of Public Services Act, 2004 (Bill 18, April)

The Act ended a 27-day strike of 20,000 public service employees and imposed a four-year collective agreement with a two-year wage freeze and increases of two percent and three percent in the third and fourth year of the legislated contract.

Newfoundland and Labrador Back to work - settlement imposed April 2004

An Act to amend the Labour Code of Quebec, 2003 (Bill 31, December)

The Act allowed health care employers to subcontract with no guarantee of successor rights.

Quebec Restrictions on scope of bargaining December 2003

An Act to modify bargaining units and local bargaining, 2003 (Bill 30, December)

The Act established a ceiling of four bargaining units per health care employer, introduced a mandatory bargaining process and eliminated the right to strike and the arbitration framework beyond the negotiation of the first agreement.

Quebec Restrictions on scope of bargaining December 2003

An Act to amend the Act respecting health services and social services, 2003 (Bill 7, December)

The Act decertified existing unions of workers in “family-type” health and social service agencies providing residential care for clients of the health and social services system and prohibited the creation of new ones by decreeing that employees are no longer employees; instead, they are to be considered to be self-employed, or independent workers.

Quebec Denial of right to join a union December 2003

Railway and Ferries Bargaining Assistance Amendment Act, 2003 (Bill 95, December)

The Act ended a strike by ferry workers employed by the newly privatized BC Ferry Corporation

British Columbia Back to work - settlement imposed December 2003

Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act, 2003 (Bill 94, November)

The Act prevented the Labour Relations Board and arbitrators from making a true employer declaration for employees  working for a private contractor or subcontractor in the health sector.  It also overrode collective agreement provisions prohibiting contracting out, rewrote layoff and bumping provisions and reduced severance pay below even the minimum standards applicable to non-unionized employees under provincial Employment Standards legislation.

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining November 2003

Public Services Modernization Act, 2003 (Bill C-25, November)

This Act amended the Public Services Labour Relations Act to broaden the definition of essential services by giving the employer the exclusive right to determine the level and frequency of service during a strike. This means that the right to strike will be severely curtailed, if not removed completely. It also excluded fundamental workplace issues such as staffing and classification from collective bargaining.

Federal Government Restrictions on scope of bargaining November 2003

An Act to amend the Act respecting childcare centres and childcare services, 2003 (Bill 8, December)

The Act took away the right of independent home childcare providers to join a union.

Quebec Denial of right to join a union October 2003