ontario news watch

Industry leaders slam bill to ban replacement workers during strikes

MONTREAL — Industry leaders are warning that a bill to ban replacement workers during a strike or lockout could lead to greater disruptions to everything from aviationto package delivery and internet services.

Tabled in Parliament on Thursday, the Liberals’ legislation would be applicable to federally regulated sectors such as air travel, ports, banking and telecommunications and fine companies $100,000 a day for each violation. It would affect about a million employees.

Derrick Hynes, CEO of the Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications industry group, says a ban on replacement workers will create a major imbalance at the table and incentivize strike action.

He also cautions the bill could give small bargaining units in large companies outsized power to shut down entire operations, pointing to airlines and ports as examples.

However, Canadian Union of Public Employees president Mark Hancock says current rules give management unfair leverage in negotiations by allowing firms to hire outside labour, which can drag out strikes.

The legislation does not apply to the federal public service and includes exceptions for situations where replacing employees is necessary to prevent threats to public health and safety.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 13, 2023.

The Canadian Press