ILO Convention 98 ratified: Canada’s unions urge government to promote collective bargaining rights at home and abroad

June 14, 2017

Canada’s unions are celebrating today’s ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Convention 98, The Right to Organize and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949.

The Convention reinforces the right to collective bargaining and protects all workers from anti-union discrimination, including being forced to give up union membership in order to get a job, or job termination for participating in union activities.

“This is a long overdue and important step forward for Canadian labour relations and sends a strong message to the world,” said CLC president Hassan Yussuff. “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.”

Today’s ratification of Convention 98 means Canada has ratified all eight considered by ILO to be the minimum “enabling rights” people need to defend and improve their rights and conditions at work, and to work in freedom and dignity.

Canada’s unions have been working for ratification for decades, but since 1949 and until now, successive Canadian governments have refused. Canada is the 165th country to ratify. The United States, Mexico, and 20 other countries have yet to ratify.

“By ratifying Co98, Canada is committing not just to respect collective bargaining rights, but to promote and uphold them abroad and at home,” said Yussuff. “This means encouraging and supporting provincial and territorial governments to find negotiated solutions to disputes rather than overriding collective bargaining rights with draconian measures like back-to-work legislation,” he added.