Government of Canada releases study on the causes and impacts of work stoppages

Government hopes to reduce labour stoppages in the federally regulated private sector
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 04/22/2009

Federal Minister of Labour Rona Ambrose, Minister of Labour, announced the report Work Stoppages in the Federal Private Sector: Innovative Solutions, which includes three options that achieved consensus support between labour and employer stakeholder groups.

The report is the outcome of a study conducted by Mr. Peter Annis, an expert in industrial relations, to better understand the causes and impacts of strikes and lockouts in the federally regulated private sector.

"The Government of Canada is concerned with the effects that work stoppages have on the lives of Canadians and on the economy as a whole," said Minister Ambrose. "In this time of global economic uncertainty, it is especially important that the government seek input from labour experts, workers and businesses to reduce the frequency, duration and harm caused by labour stoppages."

Minister Ambrose has asked officials to examine further steps with respect to the three options that reached consensus support among stakeholders: the establishment of an advisory council to provide the Minister with input on labour issues; strengthening of the Preventive Mediation Program administered by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service; and a review of the processes of the Canada Industrial Relations Board to improve the timeliness of its decisions.

"I would like to thank Mr. Annis for undertaking this important study," said Minister Ambrose. "I am pleased that three of his recommendations achieved consensus support, and government officials will examine moving forward on these three."

The Canadian Labour Congress and the Federally Regulated Employers – Transportation and Communications, an umbrella group of major employers, coordinated the involvement of their members in the study. Forty-nine union representatives and union councils, 32 employers and employer organizations and 15 arbitrators, academics and other industrial relations experts participated in the study. Federal and provincial labour relations boards and labour departments were also consulted.

The federally regulated jurisdiction represents 8.5 per cent of the Canadian labour force, covering approximately 46,000 workplaces and 1.1 million workers in the federal private sector and Crown corporations. This includes Canadians working in banks, broadcasting and telecommunications companies, postal services, airlines, most railways, large segments of the trucking industry, ports and shipping companies, grain handling, uranium mines and Aboriginal governments, Band Councils and certain Aboriginal undertakings.

The report is available on the Labour Program's Web site www.labour.gc.ca at http:\\www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/labour/labour_relations/wsfps/page00.shtml

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