Historical Events

July 5, 2001

The Nova Scotia government of John Hamm withdrew its Act to Continue Health Care Services (Bill 68), a law that would have made health care strikes illegal while empowering the cabinet to dictate contracts unilaterally. The government backed off the legislation after a successful campaign by National Union’s Nova Scotia Component, the Nova Scotia Government and General Employees Union, which led to close to 75 percent of the province’s nurses signing resignation letters in protest of the legislation.

July 23, 1993

Manitoba public sector employees were forced to take “Filmon Fridays” with the passage of the Public Sector Reduced Work Week and Compensation Management Act by the Conservative government of Gary Filmon. The law forced all public sector employees to take a temporary wage rollback by establishing a mandatory layoff of up to a maximum of 15 days for public employees. For most employees, this resulted in seven long weekends – “Filmon Fridays” – and three days off between Christmas and New Year’s Day for a period of three years.

July 11, 1985

The first ‘pro-active’ pay equity legislation outside the context of human rights legislation was proclaimed in Manitoba. Proactive legislation puts the onus on an employer to introduce a pay equity program, rather than relying on an individual or union to pursue a lengthy case (like is the case under in the Canadian Human Rights Act). Beside Manitoba, this type of legislation exists now in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Three provinces, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland & Labrador and British Columbia, have not enacted pay equity laws but have developed policy frameworks for negotiating pay equity with some specific public sector employees. Only Alberta has neither passed pay equity legislation nor developed a pay equity negotiation framework.

July 7, 1983

The Socred government of Bill Bennett introduced a sweeping package of legislative reform consisting of 26 regressive bills. Among them were the Public Service Labour Relations Amendment Act (Bill 2) which would have legislated the master agreement of the National Union’s largest BC Component, the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union, out of existence and the Public Sector Restraint Act (Bill 3) which overrode job security provisions contained in public sector collective agreements. In response ‘Operation Solidarity’, one of the largest protest movements in Canada, was formed comprising of community organizations and unions. The enormous public protest against the legislation forced the government to back down and withdraw both Bills 2 and 3. Most of the rest of the regressive package remained intact and was adopted by the legislature.

July 1, 1935

This was the day of the infamous Regina Riot and the end of the On-to-Ottawa Trek, a defining event of the Great Depression of the 1930s. In 1935, over a thousand angry unemployed men left federal relief camps in British Columbia and boarded boxcars to take their demand for work and wages directly to Ottawa. The protest ended in Regina when the railways, at the urging of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett, refused further access to the trains. On July 1, 1935 the protestors organized a public protest that was broken up by police squads. This prompted a riot in which two people died in the clashes, including a local constable. Dozens of people were injured and 130 were arrested.