Canada ratifies international convention, supports workers' rights to organize and collective bargaining

News Release

June 14, 2017               Gatineau, Quebec                 Employment and Social Development Canada

Fair and balanced labour relations contribute to a growing economy, in which middle-class Canadian workers and their families can thrive. The Government of Canada has faith in, and respect for, the collective bargaining process, and today has ratified the United Nations’ International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining.

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, deposited the Instrument of Ratification today in Geneva, Switzerland with the Director General of the ILO, Mr. Guy Ryder.

By ratifying Convention 98, Canada is now signatory to all eight of the ILO’s Fundamental Conventions. It demonstrates Canada’s leadership and commitment towards decent labour and employment conditions for workers. It is also in line with Canada’s commitment to fair and balanced labour relations through Bill C-4, An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.

The ratification of Convention 98 also fulfils one of Canada’s commitments under the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).


“The labour movement is essential to growing our economy and strengthening the middle class; ratifying Convention 98 reaffirms Canada’s commitment to protecting the rights of workers at home and abroad.  We are hopeful that Canada’s ratification of Convention 98 will inspire other states to respect, promote and realize the ILO’s fundamental conventions to ensure every worker has decent labour and employment conditions.”
-The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour

“Canada is a strong supporter of workers’ rights, both at home and around the world. Today’s ratification demonstrates our commitment towards improved labour and employment conditions for workers and fair and balanced labour relations. Ratification of C98 fulfils a key commitment under CETA’s Trade and Labour Chapter, where we committed to ratify and implement all eight of the ILO’s fundamental conventions, which will be good for the middle class on both sides of the Atlantic.”
- Hon. Chrystia Freeland, P.C., M.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs ‎

 “I welcome this ratification of ILO Convention 98 as a testimony to Canada’s long-standing commitment to promoting and effectively implementing fundamental rights at work, both domestically and through its international relations. In particular, I’d like to highlight the importance of collective bargaining in facilitating adaptation to economic, socio-political, and technological change and the growing relevance of its role in the fast-paced changing environment of the world of work.”
- Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization

“This is a long overdue and important step forward for Canadian labour relations and it sends a strong message to the world. By signing this convention, Canada is finally recognizing the crucial role that strong unions and collective bargaining rights play in reducing inequality and building stronger, fair and inclusive economies.”
-Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff

Quick Facts

  • Convention 98 is one of eight International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions that are considered fundamental to promoting decent work.

  • Convention 98 aims to protect workers against anti-union discrimination by employers; protect workers’ and employers’ organizations against interference by the other; and promote the right to collective bargaining.

  • Canada joins 164 countries around the world that have also ratified Convention 98.

  • Ratifying Convention 98 reflects the Government of Canada’s recognition of the importance of unions, how they help protect the rights of Canadian workers, and how they help to grow the middle class.

Associated Links


Matt Pascuzzo
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour


Media Relations Office
Employment and Social Development Canada
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