A ban on replacement workers is a threat to small businesses and the economy

Toronto, November 9, 2023 – The proposed legislation to ban replacement workers in federally regulated workplaces during a strike or a lockout is terrible news for small businesses, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. 

“It looks like Ottawa has not learned any lessons from the most recent strikes at BC ports. If passed, this bill could prolong the duration of strikes and increase their frequency. We’ve seen it happen in British Columbia and Quebec, where there’s already legislation to ban replacement workers and where they have experienced more strikes than other jurisdictions. Long strikes at ports or railway companies hurt small businesses’ operations and finances,” said Jasmin Guenette, Vice-President of National Affairs at CFIB. “There’s a reason why similar bills were always voted down in the past. They put too much power in the hands of large unions, and they are a threat to the economy as a whole. It looks like this bill is introduced for political reasons and not because it’s necessary.” 

Of those who had a view, 73% of small businesses said they wouldn’t support such a ban. The majority (92%) of small businesses with an opinion also said that employees from federally regulated workplaces that are instrumental to the supply chain should be deemed essential service providers. 

To strengthen the economy and ensure fairness for small businesses, CFIB recommends government to:

  • Reject the proposed anti-replacement worker legislation
  • Consider making ports and other federally regulated workplaces, including rail, air, trucking service providers and telecommunications, an essential service with binding arbitration

“When strikes happen, small businesses are impacted by something completely out of their control. The longer strikes last, the greater harm they cause,” said Christina Santini, CFIB’s director of national affairs. “The proposed federal legislation could worsen work stoppage activity throughout the Canadian economy.”

For media enquiries or interviews, please contact:
Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, CFIB

Final results for the Your Voice – November 2022 survey. The online survey was conducted November 10-28, 2022, number of respondents = 3,264. For comparison purposes, a probability samples with the same number of respondents would have a margin of error of +/-1.7%, 19 times out of 20.

About CFIB
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 97,000 members across every industry and region. CFIB is dedicated to increasing business owners’ chances of success by driving policy change at all levels of government, providing expert advice and tools, and negotiating exclusive savings. Learn more at cfib.ca.