“Canadian workers demand and deserve anti-scab legislation. With Bill C-302 tabled last fall, and federal consultations wrapping up today, we have the momentum for it. Now the federal government has to get the job done,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock, at a press conference held on Parliament Hill today. At his side was Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie MP Alexandre Boulerice, who presented the private member’s bill.

“It’s appalling that in Canada, in the 21st century, we still have a system that allows employers to lock out their workers, and then hire replacement workers to take their jobs. All so they can avoid negotiating a fair contract with their employees. That has to stop now,” added Hancock.

“The NDP priority is to defend workers’ rights, so that everyone can have better living conditions. It is unfair for the law to allow people to have their jobs and livelihoods stolen because of legitimate pressure tactics. This must stop,” said Boulerice.

Demonstration on Parliament Hill

The use of scab labour lengthens labor disputes, increases safety risk and drastically tips the bargaining scales in favor of employers.

CUPE members at the Port of Quebec, who have been locked out since last September, are seeing it firsthand. CUPE members at Vidéotron lived it 20 years ago, when they were locked out for 13 months.

They gathered on Parliament Hill today, joined by other CUPE members, union and community allies, and NPD MPs. Their message for the federal government was clear: do it now.

CUPE’s submission to federal consultations

CUPE’s submission to the federal government outlines how the use of scabs undermines the constitutional right to strike recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 2015.

To restore the balance between employers and workers at the bargaining table, CUPE proposes comprehensive anti-scab legislation including:

  • hefty fines for employers who use scabs or pressure workers to cross a picket line.
  • robust protections for workers who refuse to cross a picket line.

CUPE is Canada’s largest union, representing 715,000 workers across the country in many sectors. It represents over 35,000 members in federally regulated sectors, including workers in airlines, communications, ports, public transit, ferries and rail, and various federal crown corporations, all of whom would benefit from federal anti-scab legislation.