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Bill C-58 would significantly lower quality of services offered to Canadians, MEI tells Senators

Ottawa, June 11, 2024 – Banning the use of replacement workers in federally regulated industries would lengthen and increase the frequency of work stoppages, according to remarks the Montreal Economic Institute is set to deliver to the Senate this afternoon.

“In provinces prohibiting the employment of replacement workers, work stoppages are more numerous and can be up to 60 per cent longer,” noted MEI President and CEO Daniel Dufort. “But here’s the kicker: those measures don’t seem to lead to better pay for workers.”

The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology is currently studying Bill C-58, which proposes to ban temporary replacement workers in federally regulated industries.

A recent MEI study found that in Quebec and British Columbia, the only provinces with such laws on the books, work stoppages were longer and more frequent than in provinces without such legislation.

In jurisdictions banning replacement workers, private investment was 25 per cent lower, resulting in private sector salaries that are up to 3.6 per cent lower.

Dufort points to the looming rail strike as an example of the possible widespread impact Bill C-58 could have on Canadian workers.

A simultaneous strike by unionized employees of Canadian Pacific Kansas City Limited (CPKC) and Canadian National (CN) could paralyze freight transport, as well as the many commuter rail lines that rely on those networks.

“If the CPKC’s 80 railway controllers were to be on strike after C-58 takes effect, no more trains could run on its network,” says Dufort. “Vancouver’s West Coast Express, GO Transit’s Milton Line and three of Exo’s commuter rail lines in Montreal could be paralyzed without replacement workers.”

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The MEI is an independent public policy think tank with offices in Montreal and Calgary. Through its publications, media appearances, and advisory services to policymakers, the MEI stimulates public policy debate and reforms based on sound economics and entrepreneurship.

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