Skip to main content

Public Sector Labour Management Issues (IRE 1625)

This subject guide is meant to assist students, particularly those enrolled in IRE1625, with research papers and assignments.

Back to Work Legislation

"Ontario judge finds back-to-work legislation aimed at postal workers violates Charter", August 16, 2016, Lancaster House. "In a significant victory for the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, an Ontario Superior Court judge has found that the Harper government's back-to-work legislation prohibiting strikes and unilaterally imposing wage increases was a violation of the union's rights to freedom of association and expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The judge declared the legislation of no force or effect retroactively." Full text of decision: Canadian Union of Postal Workers v Her Majesty in Right of Canada, 2016 ONSC 418 (CanLII)

Thomas, M. P., & Tufts, S. (2016). Austerity, right populism, and the crisis of labour in Canada. Antipode, 48(1), 212-230.

Stevens, A. & Templeton, A. (2016). Collective action and labour militancy interrupted: Back-to-work legislation and the state of permanent exceptionalism at Air Canada. Economic and industrial democracy, 12, 1-23.

Reshef, Y. & Keim, C. (2014). Bad time stories: Government-Union Conflicts and the rhetoric of legitimation strategies. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. E-book:
Chapter 3: Government intervention in industrial relations (Includes tables: Settlement Stages, Major Collective Agreements, Public Sector, 1980-2009; Settlements Stages, Employees Covered by Major Collective Agreements, Public Sector, 1980-2009)
Chapter 4: The case studies (seven cases of government intervention in public-sector industrial relations through restrictive legislation or policy)

Stevens, Andrew and Doug Nesbitt (2014). “An Era of Wildcats and Sick-outs in Canada? The Continued Decline of Industrial Pluralism and the Case of Air Canada.” Labor Studies Journal 39(2), 118-139

Lancaster House Bargaining in the Broader Public Sector Conference 2014. Panel 3: Public Sector Bargaining: The Implications of Government Involvement (request from CIRHR Library staff)


Ross, S., & In Savage, L. (2013). Public sector unions in the age of austerity. Black Point, N.S.: Fernwood Publishing

Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law, March 2012: "Striking Out: The New Normal in Canadian Industrial Relations?" by Ian Lee (20 pages, PDF -- Includes history of strikes and back-to-work legislation in Canada)

Dachis, B., & Hebdon, R. (2010). The laws of unintended consequence: The effect of labour legislation on wages and strikes. Commentary - C.D.Howe Institute, (304), 0_1,1-26.

Fudge, D. (2006). Collective bargaining in Canada: Human right or Canadian illusion?. Black Point, NS: Fernwood Pub.
Appendix II: legislation restricting collective bargaining and trade union rights in Canada, 1982-2006. Part A: back-to-work, wage restraint and suspension of collective bargaining. Part B: restrictions on organizing, collective bargaining and union internal affairs.

Camfield, D. (2006). Neoliberalism and working-class resistance in British Columbia: The Hospital Employees' Union Struggle, 2002-2004. Labour/Le Travail, (57), 9-41.

Panitch, L., Swartz, D., & Panitch, L. (2003). From consent to coercion: The assault on trade union freedoms. Aurora, Ont: Garamond Press. (Appendix II: legislative orders suspending the right to strike 1950-2002)

"Back To Work Legislation, Canadian-Style", Collective Bargaining, March/April 2001 (Lancaster House). Request from CIRHR Library.

Fudge, J., & Tucker, E. (2000). Law, industrial relations and the state: Pluralism or fragmentation? the twentieth-century employment law regime in Canada. Labour/Le Travail, (46), 251.

Swimmer, G., Thompson, M., & Queen's University (Kingston, Ont.). (1995). Public sector collective bargaining in Canada: Beginning of the end or end of the beginning?. Kingston, Ont: IRC Press, Industrial Relations Centre, Queen's University.
(table: Back-to-work legislation in the public sector 1987-1993, p. 436 - unpublished data from Labour Canada)

Enman, S.R. (1992). Ruminations on public sector restraints and back to work legislation. In Kuttner, T. (Ed.), The Industrial relations system: future trends and developments: volume II: proceedings of the XXIXth Conference of the Canadian Industrial Relations Association (681-691) (request from CIRHR Library)

Sack, J. & Lee, T. (1989). The role of the state in Canadian labour relations. Relations industrielles, 44(1), 195–223.

Wright, M. (1989). The legislation of labour relations in Canada Post. Relations industrielles, 44(4), 866–883.

Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights

Restrictive Labour Laws Directory (by Canadian Foundation for Labour Rights)

This directory includes back to work legislation from 1982 to the present.