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Québec employers' group weighs in on replacement workers

By Sara Bedal |

The Québec Employers Council recently voiced its views about anti-scab legislation in the Québec National Assembly.

In a nutshell, the Employers Council believes that the imbalance in favour of unions created by the anti-scab law has gone on for close to 35 years. It would be inopportune, says the council, for the government to further aggravate the matter by making the legislation even more restrictive than it already is.

The Québec Employers Council brings together many of Québec's largest companies and the vast majority of sector-based employers' groups in the province. Its presentation was part of a consultation held by the Commission de l'économie et du travail in conjunction with the labour dispute at the newspaper Le Journal de Montréal.

The council cites the following reasons why the anti-scab law should be abolished:

The social climate has changed dramatically over the last few decades and the labour dispute violence that prompted the adoption of anti-scab provisions is now a thing of the past.

Many studies have shown these provisions do not improve labour relations, but instead contribute to a worsening of relations by increasing the probability of work stoppages and the length of such shutdowns.

With the exception of British Columbia, such provisions do not exist anywhere else in North America, and they hamper Québec's economic well-being by reducing investments and preventing the creation of tens of thousands of jobs. 

The provisions abuse the rights of employers and, potentially, the rights of the workers themselves, and they can be constitutionally challenged under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

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