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 Services Modernization Act, 2003 (Bill C-25, November)

This Act amended the Public Services Labour Relations Act to broaden the definition of essential services by giving the employer the exclusive right to determine the level and frequency of service during a strike. This means that the right to strike will be severely curtailed, if not removed completely. It also excluded fundamental workplace issues such as staffing and classification from collective bargaining.

Federal Government Restrictions on scope of bargaining November 2003

Health Sector Partnerships Agreement Act, 2003 (Bill 94, November)

The Act prevented the Labour Relations Board and arbitrators from making a true employer declaration for employees  working for a private contractor or subcontractor in the health sector.  It also overrode collective agreement provisions prohibiting contracting out, rewrote layoff and bumping provisions and reduced severance pay below even the minimum standards applicable to non-unionized employees under provincial Employment Standards legislation.

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining November 2003

An Act to amend the Act respecting childcare centres and childcare services, 2003 (Bill 8, December)

The Act took away the right of independent home childcare providers to join a union.

Quebec Denial of right to join a union October 2003

Back-to-School (Toronto Catholic Elementary) and Education and Provincial Schools Negotiations Amendment Act, 2003 (Bill 28, June)

The Act ended a lockout and prevented those teachers from participating in any work-to-rule campaign once back in the classroom, unilaterally imposed a mediation-arbitration scheme that does not meet requirements of independence and impartiality and brought additional restrictions on the collective bargaining rights of teachers.

Ontario Back to work - settlement imposed June 2003

Labour Relations (Regional Health Authorities Restructuring) Amendment Act, 2003 (Bill 27, April)

The Act excluded nurse practitioners from unionization, terminated the right to strike for all health care workers and removed negotiated severance provisions from collective agreements.

Alberta Denial of right to join a union April 2003

Coastal Ferry Act, 2003 (Bill 18, March)

The Act allowed private contractors to override contracting out provisions contained in the ferry workers’ collective agreement.

British Columbia Restrictions on scope of bargaining March 2003

Agricultural Employees Protection Act, 2002 (Bill 187, November)

This Act denies agricultural employees in the province of Ontario the right to engage in collective bargaining.practices from employers.

Ontario Denial of right to join a union November 2002

Back to School Act (Simcoe Muskoka Catholic District School Board), 2002 (Bill 211, November)

The Act ended a strike by teachers and provided for the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator if a new collective agreement was not concluded within seven days.

Ontario Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration November 2002

City of Toronto Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2002 (Bill 174, July)

The Act ended a strike by municipal  employees and provided for the appointment of a mediator-arbitrator to conclude a two-year collective agreement, taking into consideration the employer’s “ability to pay” and the economic situation of the city and province.

Ontario Back to work - dispute sent to arbitration July 2002

Education Services Settlement Act, 2002 (Bill 12, March)

The Act ended a strike by teachers, imposed fines for not complying with the legislation and removed certain matters from collective bargaining.

Alberta Back to work - settlement imposed March 2002