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

Railway Continuation Act, 2007 (Bill C-46, April)

The Act ended a strike by railway workers and imposed a final offer selection process to resolve matters remaining in dispute between the parties. 

Federal Government Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration April 2007

An Act Respecting the Working Conditions in the Public Sector, 2005 (Bill 142, December)

The Bill imposed wages and working conditions on Québec’s 500,000 public sector workers until March 2010.  Bill 142 imposed a 33-month wage freeze retroactive to June 30, 2003, and annual wage increases of two percent in the last four years of the legislated contract.  The imposed contract will expire in March 2010.  Bill 142 also contained a series of measures that undermines job security and increases the workload of public sector employees.   It also included the changes to working conditions that the government concluded at the last minute with several public sector unions under the threat of a legislated contract.

Quebec Suspension of bargaining rights December 2005

Teachers’ Collective Agreement Act, 2005 (Bill 12, October)

This Act resulted in five years of imposed conditions of employment, no improvement in students’ learning conditions and a freeze on teachers’ salaries.

British Columbia Suspension of bargaining rights October 2005

Labour Relations Statues Law Amendment Act, 2005 (Bill 144, June)

The Act repealed posting of decertification information and disclosure of trade union salaries.  The Act however was discriminatory by its selective reinstatement of the long-standing card certification provisions only limited to the construction industry.

Ontario Restrictions on certification June 2005

Health Sector (Facilities Subsector) Collective Agreement Act, 2004 (Bill 37, April)

The Act ended a three-day-old strike of 43,000 health support employees who work in hospitals and long-term care facilities across the province. 

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining April 2004

Resumption and Continuation of Public Services Act, 2004 (Bill 18, April)

The Act ended a 27-day strike of 20,000 public service employees and imposed a four-year collective agreement with a two-year wage freeze and increases of two percent and three percent in the third and fourth year of the legislated contract.

Newfoundland and Labrador Back to work - settlement imposed April 2004

An Act to amend the Labour Code of Quebec, 2003 (Bill 31, December)

The Act allowed health care employers to subcontract with no guarantee of successor rights.

Quebec Restrictions on scope of bargaining December 2003

An Act to modify bargaining units and local bargaining, 2003 (Bill 30, December)

The Act established a ceiling of four bargaining units per health care employer, introduced a mandatory bargaining process and eliminated the right to strike and the arbitration framework beyond the negotiation of the first agreement.

Quebec Restrictions on scope of bargaining December 2003

An Act to amend the Act respecting health services and social services, 2003 (Bill 7, December)

The Act decertified existing unions of workers in “family-type” health and social service agencies providing residential care for clients of the health and social services system and prohibited the creation of new ones by decreeing that employees are no longer employees; instead, they are to be considered to be self-employed, or independent workers.

Quebec Denial of right to join a union December 2003

Railway and Ferries Bargaining Assistance Amendment Act, 2003 (Bill 95, December)

The Act ended a strike by ferry workers employed by the newly privatized BC Ferry Corporation

British Columbia Back to work - settlement imposed December 2003