Regular violations of rights

Same as last year


Workers' rights violations

Right to collective bargaining

Failure to comply with collective agreements remained a common occurrence in Canada. For example, the Ontario Labour Relations Board received 355 unfair labour practice complaints, the principal charges against employers being “illegal discharge of or discrimination against employees for union activity, illegal changes in wages and working conditions and failure to bargain in good faith.”

Dismissals for participating in strike action

In Canada, the governments, federal and provincial, frequently used back-to-work legislation to end strikes. For instance, the federal government passed back-to-work legislation to end a strike by dock workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), at the Port of Montreal on 30 April 2021. The union had been unable to secure a new collective bargaining agreement after nearly three years of negotiations. The union called the strike after the employer, the Maritime Employers’ Association, notified the union it would no longer honour collective agreement provisions related to job security and began unilaterally imposing overtime at the port.

Similarly, in early November 2021, the government of New Brunswick used back-to-work legislation against striking public sector workers. Approximately 22,000 CUPE members across a range of public services were on strike in the province. The government used emergency legislation to force members of three striking health care bargaining units (CUPE 1251, CUPE 1252 and CUPE 1190) back to work. The federal government and the government of New Brunswick’s uses of back-to-work legislation infringe on workers’ right to strike, protected under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Dismissals for participating in strike action

In Edmonton, Canada, members of Boilermakers Lodge 146 have been locked out by their employer, CESSCO Fabrication and Engineering Ltd., a steal company, since June 2020. Over the past year, the employer has hired replacement workers while receiving the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, a pandemic benefit paid by the federal government to employers, ostensibly to cover payroll expenses. The continued use of replacement workers has prolonged the lockout. Before the lockout, the union had been bargaining for a contract for over two and a half years.

Prosecution of union leaders for participating in strikes

At the end of 2020, workers at the Ash Grove cement plant in Joliette, Quebec (Canada), were informed that two of the four kilns would be closed, putting at least half of their jobs at risk. Despite the fact that collective bargaining was still ongoing, members of the workplace union Unifor were illegally locked out of the plant on 22 May 2021. Unifor, along with the Quebec Federation of Labor and their members across Quebec, organised a series of solidarity actions.

In response to the union mobilisation, Ash Grove management obtained a new injunction limiting union actions. The employer also filed a CA$2.6 million (about US$2.1 million) management grievance for lost production and equipment breakdown and dismissed two members of Local 177, including a member of the bargaining committee.

Ash Grove cement is owned by CRH Canada, which employs 4,000 people in 100 production facilities. Worldwide, the global giant employs more than 76,000 people in over 3,000 locations in 29 countries.

Workers’ rights in law

All countries