Backgrounder: Bill C-29, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of operations at the Port of Montréal
If passed, Bill C-29, An Act to provide for the resumption and continuation of operations at the Port of Montréal, would end the ongoing work stoppage at the Port of Montreal, and provide the Maritime Employers Association and the Syndicat des débardeurs – CUPE Local 375 with a neutral mediation-arbitration process to resolve their disputes. The bill would come into force at 00:00:01 Eastern Daylight Saving Time on the day after it receives Royal Assent and would:
- End the ongoing work stoppage and prevent further disruptions by:
- ordering the resumption and continuation of operations at the Port of Montreal as of 00:00:01 Eastern Daylight Saving Time on the day following Royal Assent;
- extending the parties’ expired collective agreement until a new collective agreement comes into effect;
- prohibiting further work stoppages until the expiry of the extended collective agreement; and
- imposing fines on any employer, union or individual that contravenes the provisions of the bill.
- Resolve the issues in dispute between the parties by:
- requiring the Minister of Labour to appoint a mediator-arbitrator proposed jointly by the parties or, if the parties fail to propose the same person, appoint a mediator-arbitrator at her discretion whose services will be paid for by the parties;
- referring all matters in dispute to the mediator-arbitrator;
- requiring the mediator-arbitrator to attempt to resolve the matters by mediation within a period of 14 days, which may be extended to 21 days if the parties agree;
- empowering the mediator-arbitrator to resolve outstanding issues through arbitration if mediation fails, using an arbitration method of his or her choice; and
- requiring that the mediator-arbitrator conclude mediation-arbitration and report to the Minister on the resolution of the issues referred to him or her within 90 days of his or her appointment. The Minister may extend the 90-day period as necessary.
- Establish a new collective agreement between the parties by:
- providing that a new collective agreement becomes binding on the parties as of the day after the mediator-arbitrator reports to the Minister;
- specifying that this new collective agreement will consist of agreements between the parties, arbitration decisions, and any provisions of the expired collective agreement that were not the subject of an agreement or arbitration decision;
- allowing the parties to amend the new collective agreement as permitted by the agreement and Part I of the Canada Labour Code; and
- ensuring that if the parties negotiate an agreement before the mediator-arbitrator submits his or her report to the Minister, the mediation-arbitration process ends and the parties are bound by their new collective agreement.
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