Restrictive Labour Laws

Labour Rights Under Attack

230 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

Public Sector Compensation Restraint Act, 1994 (Bill C-18, June)

The Act extended the collective agreement of teachers employed in Yukon Territory for three years, suspending collective bargaining, froze compensation for the same period and further reduced wages by two percent effective January 1, 1995.

Federal Government Suspension of bargaining rights June 1994

Budget Implementation Act, 1994 (Bill C-17, June)

The Act extended the wage freeze for federal public service employees for two years, suspended provisions regarding pay increments and excluded all forms of collective bargaining by again amending the Public Sector Compensation Act, 1991.

Federal Government Suspension of bargaining rights June 1994

Labour Board Amalgamation Act, 1994 (Bill 1, May)

The Act amalgamated the Public Service Employee Relations Board with the Labour Relations Board and altered the Board’s powers, including giving the Chair of the Board the power to sit alone and summon witnesses if the parties did not object.

Alberta Restrictions on scope of bargaining May 1994

Public Sector Pay Reduction Act, 1994 (Bill 70, May)

The Act suspended collective bargaining for all public sector employees on all monetary terms in the public sector until May 1995 and rolled back wages by 7.5 percent on salaries above $28,000 and 3.75 percent on salaries below $28,000 for all public sector employees.

Prince Edward Island Suspension of bargaining rights May 1994

An Act to Amend the Industrial Relations Act, 1994 (Bill 47, April)

The Act gave employers the authority to request a ratification vote on their final offer in all sets of negotiations with unions representing private sector employees.

New Brunswick Restrictions on scope of bargaining April 1994

An Act to Amend the Labour Relations Act, 1994 (Bill 49, February)

The Act imposed the requirement of a certification vote in all organizing drives, even where 100 percent of workers signed union cards, and made a strike vote mandatory on the employer’s final offer.

Newfoundland and Labrador Restrictions on certification February 1994

West Coast Ports Operations Act, 1994 (Bill C-10, February)

The Act ended a two-week strike by 3,500 longshoremen employed with the Port of Vancouver, extended the collective agreement and provided for the nomination of an arbitrator to perform final offer selection.

Federal Government Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration February 1994

An Act to Amend the Labour Relations Act, 1993 (Bill 80, December)

The amendments to the Act gave power to the Labour Relations Board to review and overturn decisions of international unions in the building and construction industry regarding union locals, including decisions involving the removal of union officers.

Ontario Restrictions on scope of bargaining December 1993

Windsor Teachers Dispute Settlement Act, 1993 (Bill 139, December)

The Act ended a strike by elementary school teachers, extended the expired collective agreement and made provision for outstanding matters in dispute to be referred to a three-person board of arbitration.  Portions of the Act providing for settlement of dispute were not proclaimed into force.

Ontario Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration December 1993

An Act respecting the construction industry, 1993 (Bill 158, December)

The Act prohibited strikes in the construction industry, extended the existing decree setting out sector-wide conditions of  employment and imposed fines for contravention.

Quebec Suspension of bargaining rights December 1993