Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

Human Resources and Skills Development Canada

November 25, 2011 16:51 ET

Minister Raitt Refers Marine Atlantic Concerns to the Canada Industrial Relations Board

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2011) - The Honourable Lisa Raitt, Canada's Labour Minister, has referred the issue of maintenance of activities at Marine Atlantic to the Canada Industrial Relations Board (CIRB). The referral comes after Marine Atlantic and the National Automobile, Aerospace, Transportation and General Workers Union of Canada (CAW-Canada) Local 4285 have been unable to reach a new collective agreement for approximately 70 shore-based plant maintenance personnel.

"The Government of Canada has been closely following the negotiations between Marine Atlantic and CAW-Canada," said Minister Raitt. "Our government received a strong mandate to protect the Canadian economy, Canadian jobs and the welfare of Canadians. So I have asked the CIRB to review the situation at Marine Atlantic to ensure that the health and safety of the public would not be impacted in the event of a strike."

If there is a concern that a potential work stoppage could threaten the safety or health of the public and the parties have not reached an agreement, or the agreement does not properly address the concerns, Canada's Labour Minister will refer the matter of the maintenance of activities to the CIRB, as laid out in the Canada Labour Code.

The CIRB reviews each case and independently determines if a work stoppage would pose a threat to the safety or health of the public and may issue binding orders to prevent any threats. Both the union and the employer must continue their normal work activities until the matter of maintenance of activities has been decided upon by the CIRB.

"The Government of Canada has made attempts to assist the negotiations and appointed a conciliation officer to meet with the parties," said Minister Raitt. "I urge them to continue working together to reach a new collective agreement as soon as possible."

Marine Atlantic is a Crown corporation offering commercial and passenger ferry services between the provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia. The collective agreement, covering a unit of approximately 70 shore-based plant maintenance personnel working in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, and Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Labrador, expired on December 31, 2010.

The CIRB is an independent, representational, quasi-judicial tribunal. Its mandate is to interpret and apply the provisions of Part I of the Canada Labour Code that deal with collective bargaining and unfair labour practices.

For more information on the CIRB, visit www.cirb-ccri.gc.ca.

This news release is available in alternative formats upon request.

Contact Information

  • Ashley Kelahear
    Press Secretary
    Office of Minister Raitt
    819-953-5646

    Media Relations Office
    Human Resources and Skills Development Canada
    819-994-5559