Ministerial Question Period: Legislation on Replacement Workers

By: The Hon. Andrew Cardozo

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Maman statue, Ottawa

Hon. Andrew Cardozo: Thank you, minister, for making the time to be here with us. I have a couple of quick questions about major issues in your department.

The first is anti-scab legislation. Could you tell us where that is at? Will your legislation be the same or different from the private member’s bill that Alexandre Boulerice has introduced — Bill C-302. Also, with regard to employment equity — further to my colleague’s question — when do you anticipate introducing that legislation, and will the target groups be different than the four that have been named in the past?

Hon. Seamus O’Regan, P.C., M.P., Minister of Labour: On the latter point, I will say that we will see what happens when we get the report. I think that will be determined shortly after that.

On the issue of replacement workers, we have an agreement with the New Democratic Party, or NDP, on a few matters. One of those matters is on replacement workers. We have committed to introducing legislation on that front by the end of this year. We will be introducing it into the House by the end of this year. It was a commitment we made in the platform. We renewed that commitment in the agreement with the NDP, and it was one that we announced consultations on late last year. I did that along with Senator Yussuff and my NDP colleague Alexandre Boulerice. It will differ from what my friend Mr. Boulerice has put forward in that and other PMBs — private members’ bills — in the House that have been introduced in that we consulted quite extensively, and we consulted on a tripartite level. We have a strong tradition in this country of doing that, particularly on labour legislation, where we sit down with business and with employees and we hash it out.

One thing that I’m very proud of, particularly on this issue of a ban on replacement workers, is that we sat down with everybody together. I attended those consultations myself. They went on for some time. They were what I would call messy. But I thought that that was necessary, because there are consequences for employers and employees.

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