PSAC has been participating in consultations on new anti-scab legislation, attending in-person and virtual roundtables with the Minister of Labour and department officials, other labour allies, and employer side representatives. PSAC also has submitted a thorough response to discussion papers written by the Labour Program on both anti-scab legislation and on measures to provide for maintenance of essential activities.
PSAC’s input into this process focused on some core principles:
- Strong, progressive legislation to prohibit the use of replacement workers under the Canada Labour Code is long overdue.
- Prevention of loopholes in the legislation.
- The Canada Industrial Relations Board must be given the resources to enact ongoing and new requirements under the law including the enforcement of timelines for maintenance of activities agreements.
- Ensure the law is compliant with the Charter, which protects the rights of workers under Section 2(b), freedom of expression and Section 2(d) freedom of association, including the right to withdraw labour in the course of bargaining.
- Extend anti-scab provisions to all workers in the federal public sector.
- The government must lead by example and ensure that anti-scab requirements apply to every government contract for goods and services.
PSAC is ready to welcome the introduction of this legislation and will hold the government to its commitment to ensure that free and fair collective bargaining rights are protected for all workers in the federally regulated sector.
Until now, there hasn’t been enough support in Parliament to make previous anti-scab bills into law. During the 2021 federal election, Bloc Quebecois NDP and the Liberal Party candidates all supported some type of anti-scab legislation. Anti-scab legislation was also included in the Liberal-NDP Confidence and Supply Agreement.
The government followed the Agreement with an announcement in the fall of 2022 that consultations on anti-scab legislation to amend the Canada Labour Code would begin immediately, with legislation to be introduced by the end of 2023.