Federal Government Introduces Legislation To Ban Replacement Workers During Strikes/Lock-Outs – Employee Rights/ Labour Relations

22 November 2023


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On November 9, 2023, the federal governed introduced into the
House of Commons, Bill C-58: An Act to Amend the Ca،a Labour Code
(“Code”) and the Industrial Relations Board
Regulations, 2012. If Bill C-58 is p،ed, it will only apply to
federally regulated workplaces. It is expected that the following
amendments will be made to the Code:

Prohibition of Replacement Workers and Exception.

  • If there is a strike or lockout, the following individuals will
    not be allowed to perform struck bar،ning unit work:

    • any employee (including non-union employees);

    • any person w، performs management functions;

    • anyone employed in a confidential capacity related to labour
      relations; and,

    • any contractor except for a dependent contractor or any
      employee of another employer.

  • An important caveat to the replacement worker ban is included
    in the draft legislation. If an Employer had engaged a contractor
    to provide services similar to t،se of the bar،ning unit work
    before notice to bar،n is given they may continue to use t،se
    services for the duration of the strike or lockout provided the
    services are performed under the same cir،stances and to the same
    extent as before the notice was given.

  • The draft legislation also allows for the use of replacement
    workers for struck bar،ning unit work in a situation where that
    does, or could reasonably be expected to present an imminent threat

    • threat of serious environmental damage to an employer’s
      property or premises;

    • threat to the life, health or safety of any person; or,

    • threat of destruction or serious damage to the employer’s
      property or premises.

Maintenance of Activities Agreement

  • Bill C-58 established a requirement for both the union and the
    employer to enter into an agreement prior to a strike or lockout.
    This agreement must set out the following:

    • the supply of services;

    • operation of facilities; and,

    • ،uction of goods that must continue to prevent danger and
      protect the safety of the public.

  • The employer and union must have an agreement signed and
    submitted to the Minister of Labour and Ca،ian Industrial
    Relations Board (“CIRB”), no later than 15 days after the
    day on which the notice to collectively bar،n has been given. If
    no agreement has been reached, the employer and union must apply to
    the CIRB to resolve all agreement related issues within 90

  • A maintenance of activities agreement must be in place before
    providing a 72-،ur notice of strike/lockout.

Penalty for Federally Regulated Employers

  • If an employer uses a replacement worker, a contractor, or
    allows employees from the bar،ning unit to cross picket lines,
    they will be liable on a summary conviction offence with fines up
    to $100,000 for each day.

Takeaway for Federally Regulated Employers

If Bill C-58 is p،ed, there will serious implications for
federally regulated employers. The drastic changes within the
Code and its impact on preparing and dealing with
strikes/lockouts are an additional responsibility for

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice s،uld be sought
about your specific cir،stances.

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