People posing for a photo in a boardroomFederal anti-scab legislation passed 3rd reading today, clearing its final hurdle in the House of Commons, and significantly levelling the playing field for workers’ rights in federally-regulated sectors like communications and transportation.

“This is a long-awaited victory for workers’ bargaining rights in Canada,” said CUPE’s National President Mark Hancock. “And let’s not forget, this is what happens when the  NDP - backed by the labour movement - put the rights of workers front and centre in the House of Commons. Let’s also not forget that Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has voted against anti-scab legislation not once, not twice, but eight times in the past. The Conservatives only voted for it this time because they knew better than to pick a fight with the labour movement as we approach the next election.”

Currently, employers are able to hire scabs in order to break the morale and bank accounts of striking and locked out workers, as is the case with members of CUPE 2614 at the Port of Quebec, who have been locked out and replaced with scabs since September 2022.

Employers also use scab labour to ship jobs out of the country, as is the case with members of CUPE 2815 who have been locked out from their jobs at Videotron in Gatineau, Quebec since October 2023. While these workers have gone seven months without a paycheque, Videotron is able to continue business as usual, while paying bottom-dollar to ship jobs out of the country.

Anti-scab legislation will make all of this illegal. Employers will no longer be allowed to hire replacement workers (scabs) during strikes and lockouts, thereby balancing the scales and giving more power back to workers to fight for better wages and a better life.

“Today we have climbed another rung on the ladder toward justice and fairness for workers,” said CUPE’s National Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick. “This marks an extraordinary milestone in the fight for workers’ rights in Canada, and a profound testament to the power of workers when we organize and join with our allies in Parliament to fight for what is right. We never gave up on the fight for anti-scab legislation for federally-regulated industries, and we won’t stop until it’s in effect in all jurisdictions across Canada.”

Anti-scab legislation has already been shown to reduce the length and frequency of strikes and lockouts in Quebec and British Columbia where anti-scab laws are already in effect provincially. The Kinew NDP government in Manitoba has also promised anti-scab legislation. The federal legislation must now be confirmed by the Senate before receiving Royal Assent.