Human Resources and Social Development Canada

Human Resources and Social Development Canada

March 06, 2008 09:45 ET

Minister Blackburn Launches Study on Causes and Impacts of Work Stoppages

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - March 6, 2008) - The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced the launch of a focused study to examine the causes and impacts of work stoppages in the federally regulated private sector.

A 2005 international comparison of labour disputes by countries of the OECD found that from 1996 to 2005, Canada ranked first amongst G7 countries in the number of person days per worker lost due to labour disputes.

"Time lost to strikes and lockouts is an issue that concerns me because of its impact on Canadians and the economy," said Minister Blackburn. "When a long lockout or strike occurs, there are no winners."

The study aims to indentify the underlying causes of work stoppages.

Peter Annis, LL.B., Doctorate (France), an expert in industrial relations, has been appointed to lead this study. Mr. Annis will consult with unions and employers and submit a report to the Minister of Labour with recommendations on how to reduce the risk, frequency and duration of work stoppages in the federal private sector.

"Given the wide experience of Mr. Annis in mediation and arbitration, I am pleased he has agreed to undertake this important study," said Minister Blackburn.

Information on the Labour Program is available at

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.


Mandate of study

The objective of the study is to better understand the underlying causes and impacts of strikes and lockouts in the federal private sector. The study will analyse the causes that influence the risk, frequency and duration of work stoppages in Canada.

The study will also examine best practices of legislative and non-legislative approaches to manage work stoppages, as well as the current industrial relations situation in Canada. The expert is to consult with stakeholders, labour and management representatives to find the causes and impact of work stoppages, and identify for the Minister's consideration options acceptable to both labour and management to reduce the risk, the frequency and duration of work stoppages.

Federal Jurisdiction

The federal Minister of Labour is responsible for collective bargaining affecting around 875,000 employees in the federal private sector and includes enterprises that have an enormous economic, social and cultural impact on Canadians from coast to coast. The federally regulated sector includes:

- broadcasting and telecommunications, banking, postal services, airports and air transportation;

- shipping and navigation;

- interprovincial and international transportation by road, railway, ferry or pipeline;

- grain handling;

- uranium mining and processing;

- marine transportation and longshoring;

- most private sector activities in the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories;

- the governance activities of Band Councils and related First Nations undertakings on reserves; and

- certain Crown corporations (including, among others, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, the national museums, Via Rail).

Collective bargaining is regulated by Part I of the Canada Labour Code.

The study will not include federal public sector collective bargaining, which rests with the President of the Treasury Board.

Contact Information

  • Human Resources and Social Development Canada
    Media Relations Office
    Office of Minister Blackburn
    Michael Winterburn
    Director, Communications and Parliamentary Affairs