Statement by Minister O’Regan


October 19, 2023            Gatineau, Quebec             Employment and Social Development Canada

Today, the Minister of Labour, Seamus O’Regan Jr., issued the following statement regarding the port dispute review under section 106 of the Canada Labour Code:

“Our Government believes in collective bargaining.  We believe that the best deals are made at the table. It can be tough, messy work. But it's how the best deals are made. Disputes, including strikes and lockouts, are all part of that process. This past summer, however, Canadians experienced an economic disruption that no single dispute should be responsible for. Our ports are vital to our supply chains, and the scale of the disruption was a burden on the many businesses and workers that depend on them. 

In August, I committed to initiating a process under section 106 of the Canada Labour Code to examine the structural issues underlying the recent longshoring dispute at our West Coast ports, as well as similar disputes that have occurred in ports across Canada.

Today I can confirm that Anthony Giles and Kevin Banks have been contracted to begin the first part of this review process. Between now and December 31, 2023, they will be tasked with identifying the key questions that need to be answered and proposing the terms of reference for this review. In the New Year, we will update Canadians on the next steps in that process.

Anthony Giles is an expert in industrial relations and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Employment Relations at Queen’s University in Kingston. Mr. Giles was previously Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, Dispute Resolution and International Affairs, at the Labour Program from 2015 to 2021. Prior to that, Mr. Giles held the position of Director General, Strategic Policy, Analysis and Workplace Information, and Director General, International and Intergovernmental Labour Affairs. Before joining the federal government, Mr. Giles spent 18 years as a professor of industrial relations at the University of New Brunswick and Université Laval.

Kevin Banks is an experienced arbitrator and mediator. He is currently the Associate Professor of Law at Queen’s University, where he has taught for 16 years, and the Director of the Queen's Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace. Mr. Banks is the Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, and a co-ordinating editor of Labour and Employment Law, Cases, Materials and Commentary. Prior to joining Queen’s, Mr. Banks held positions in the federal public service including Director General, Labour Policy and Workplace Information, Director of Research for the Federal Labour Standards Review Commission, and Director of Inter-American Labour Cooperation.

The goal of this review is stability. Canada is a reliable trading partner to the world. That is a good thing for every employer and worker in this country. But our credibility depends on the stable operation of our supply chains. We must do everything we can to preserve that stability.”

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Hartley Witten
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Labour and Seniors, Seamus O’Regan Jr.

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Employment and Social Development Canada
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