Shipping containers are shown at the Port of Montreal, Sunday, April 25, 2021. A general strike at the port is set to begin on Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Shipping containers are shown at the Port of Montreal, Sunday, April 25, 2021. A general strike at the port is set to begin on Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes

Feds file notice of back-to-work bill ahead of looming Montreal dockworkers strike

More than 1,000 dockworkers at the Port of Montreal scheduled to go on strike Monday morning

MONTREAL — The federal government has given notice on Sunday that it will table back-to-work legislation in response to a looming dockworkers’ strike at Montreal’s port that threatens to have widespread economic repercussions across the country.

Labour Minister Filomena Tassi said on Twitter that forcing the resumption of operations at the Port of Montreal is the government’s “least favoured option,” but there is a responsibility to prevent serious national economic harm.

“We believe in the collective bargaining process,” Tassi wrote.

“However, the Government must act when all other efforts have been exhausted and a work stoppage is causing significant economic harm to Canadians.”

She added that the two parties remain far apart despite extensive support that included over 100 mediation sessions.

While the notice paper is dated for Monday, a spokesman for Tassi says the legislation won’t come before the House until at least Tuesday and could be shelved altogether if the dockworker’s union and the Maritime Employers Association reach a deal before then.

More than 1,000 dockworkers at the Port of Montreal are scheduled to go on strike Monday morning in a move that the port authority says will mean a total shutdown of operations.

The workers, who have been without a contract since December 2018, have been on an overtime strike since April 17 and have refused to work weekends since April 18.

A spokesperson for the union said it was aware of the pending legislation but as of Sunday afternoon the strike was still going ahead.

Montreal’s port authority also acknowledged the government’s action, which it said was a “clear signal” of the port’s strategic importance.

“After several strike episodes in 2020 and 2021, which have had and continue to have serious economic and logistical impact, it is mission-critical that the Port of Montreal be able to fully and sustainably play its strategic role as an economic engine at the service of the local population,” said Martin Imbleau, the authority’s president.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon had previously called on Ottawa to intervene, stopping a strike that he said would paralyze the province’s economy.

On Sunday, Fitzgibbon said on Twitter that he supports the federal government’s move, but expressed hope that the two sides would manage to negotiate an agreement without the need for legislation.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2021.

Labour

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read