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Ford Gov’t rejects anti-replacement worker bill

By Randy Thoms Nov 27, 2023 | 2:16 PM

Members of striking CUPE education workers carry pickets outside the constituency office of Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Kevin Holland, November 7, 2022.

The NDP has again failed to bring back anti-scab legislation in Ontario.

The Ford government used its majority status to defeat a bill at Queen’s Park Monday morning.

It would have made it illegal for employers to use replacement workers during a strike.

NDP Labour Critic Jamie West says the government’s defeat of the bill was not unexpected but reinforces its disregard for working people.

“The Conservatives’ track record has been nothing short of detrimental to workers’ rights,” says West. “From Bill 124, which unjustly restricted the wage increases of public sector workers, to the struggles faced by health care and education workers, this government has consistently failed to prioritize working people in our province.”

It was the 16th time the NDP has attempted to bring back legislation put in place in 1992 by Bob Rae’s NDP government, only to be repealed by the PCs under Mike Harris in 1995.

Labour groups were also hoping to see the ban on replacement workers return.

In-Coming president of Ontario Federation of Labour Laura Walton says their use only prolongs strikes and undermines the value of workers.

“Strikes are a last resort, and we should not be giving the upper hand to CEOs, bosses and employers that are trying to destroy our workforce,” says Walton.

Miles Sullivan of the United Steelworkers Union says banning replacement workers also levels the playing field.

“Employers should no longer have an upper hand where they have the right to bring in replacement workers, as they like to say. But the truth is, they’re scabs,” says Sullivan.

Similar legislation is in place in Quebec and British Columbia.

Last week, the federal government announced anti-scab legislation impacting federally-regulated industries.