Letter to The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, P.C., M.P., Minister of Labour Employment and Social Development Canada regarding changes to Canada’s Labour Code.

Dear Minister,

We are writing to express serious concerns about the proposal to use the Canada Labour Code to prohibit employers from using replacement workers to perform the duties of employees who are on strike or locked out.

Employers that operate under federal jurisdiction – including railways, ports, airlines, trucking firms, telecommunications companies, and broadcasters – provide critical infrastructure support to Canadians and Canadian companies.

Though rarely used, replacement workers allow such organizations to maintain basic levels of service in the event of labour disruptions. When employers lack the ability to use replacement workers, unions are encouraged to strike rather than bargain collectively, which raises the risk of significant damage to Canada’s economy.

Specifically, banning the use of replacement workers in federally regulated industries would:

  • Increase the likelihood and duration of strikes;
  • Create a more confrontational labour relations climate;
  • Increase the cost of collective bargaining agreements, resulting in higher costs for consumers;
  • Create a need for more back-to-work legislation;
  • Cause considerable disruption to businesses and all Canadians who rely on federally regulated companies to provide key infrastructure services;
  • Damage Canada’s reputation as a destination of choice for doing business.

We urge you not to support this legislation. Canadians simply cannot afford it.

We would welcome the opportunity to sit down with you to discuss the issue in more detail.


Goldy Hyder