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Statement from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce regarding anti-replacement worker legislation

Statement from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce regarding anti-replacement worker legislation

We are concerned about the proposed legislation that would eliminate the use of replacement workers in federally regulated industries during work stoppages.

As the Minister of Labour has often suggested, the best labour agreements are reached voluntarily at the bargaining table. That’s why, over the years, successive governments have worked hard to maintain a carefully constructed balance between employers and unions that encourages negotiated settlements. It is designed not to favour either side but to provide incentives to both parties to come to an agreement. The ability of workers to strike or of employers to lock out if negotiations break down provides pressure on both parties to reach agreement.

Unfortunately, the Minister now proposes to pass legislation that will destroy that balance and encourage workplace disruptions in the federally regulated sector. By eliminating the ability of federally regulated employers to use replacement workers to continue their operations in the case of a work stoppage, the government will put its thumb firmly on the scales in favour of one of the parties, removing an incentive to negotiate and encouraging more labour disruptions.

Workers in federally regulated industries play a vital role in growing our economy and ensuring that our supply chains operate efficiently. They keep our economy and our country moving, and the wellbeing of every family and every business depends on their efforts. This legislation, however, will allow even a small bargaining unit to disrupt a major supply chain.

The government says it believes in collective bargaining, but its anti-replacement worker bill goes in exactly the opposite direction by removing the incentive for labour unions to take a seat at the negotiating table.

That’s why the proposal to introduce legislation prohibiting replacement workers in federally regulated industries is so troubling. It puts us at a risk of a destabilized and less resilient economy, with significant implications for Canadian families and businesses. If this bill is passed, it will also undercut our ability to act as a dependable trading partner for our partners around the globe. And let’s be clear – in these turbulent times, the world must be able to rely on Canada.

The federal government should not be destabilizing our already-fragile supply chains or making it easier to bring our economy to a standstill. Why make it harder for Canadians to access the services they require, and further raise costs for families at a time of intense inflationary pressures?

Replacement workers are infrequently used, but when they are, they allow organizations in sectors like trucking, rail, ports, telecom, and air transportation to provide a basic level of service that preserves critical functions for Canadians and their families. Eliminating the ability to use replacement workers to maintain important services creates an encouragement to strike rather than to bargain collectively.

The government proposes to tilt the scales in favour of the labour unions, regardless of the cost to our economy. But when our elected representatives choose sides in this way, who is going to stand up for the Canadian people?

Perrin Beatty, President & CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce — The Future of Business Success

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most activated business network — representing over 400 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 200,000 business of all sizes, from all sectors of the economy and from every part of the country — to create the conditions for our collective success. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the undisputed champion and catalyst for the future of business success. From working with government on economy-friendly policy to providing services that inform commerce and enable trade, we give each of our members more of what they need to succeed: insight into markets, competitors and trends, influence over the decisions and policies that drive business success and impact on business and economic performance.

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Karl Oczkowski
Senior Director, Corporate Communications & Public Relations
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

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