ITUC report cites major restrictions of labour rights in Canada | National Union of Public and General Employees

ITUC report cites major restrictions of labour rights in Canada

In the last 29 years, federal and provincial governments across the country have enacted 90 pieces of back-to-work legislation.

Brussels, (26 May 2011) – A new report by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) on core labour standards in Canada, published to coincide with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) review of its trade policies, finds some significant workers’ rights restrictions.

Despite the fact that federal and provincial labour laws grant workers in both public and private sectors the right to join and form trade unions, the ITUC report notes that many restrictions of trade union rights exist due to the restrictive labour laws in force in several Canadian provinces.

Furthermore federal and provincial governments frequently use back-to-work legislation to unilaterally end strikes by their employees.

Research compiled by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) as part of its ongoing Labour Rights are Human Rights campaign shows that in the last 29 years, the federal government alone passed 14 pieces of back-to-work legislation. Provincial governments across the country have enacted 76 pieces of back-to-work legislation. Most of this legislation (51 of the 90 pieces of legislation) not only forced workers back to work after taking strike action, but also arbitrarily imposed settlements on the striking workers.

The ITUC report also finds that, although the laws of Canada prohibit discrimination, women still face a considerable pay gap and the labour market is segregated on gender lines.

Canada has only ratified five of the eight ILO international core labour standards which are recognized as being fundamental to the rights of human beings at work. all eight core ILO Conventions have been ratified by the overwhelming majority of ILO member States. Unfortunately, Canada is one of only 56 countries in the world that have not ratified all eight.

ITUC represents 175 million workers in 151 countries and territories and has 305 national affiliates.


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

More information:

Read the full ITUC report
Campaign to have Canada ratify all ILO core Conventions
Restrictive labour laws passed in Canada
NUPGE on Labour Rights

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