Labour Studies Index

Revisiting Quebec's Decrees: Can Juridical Extension Address the Issue of Precarious Work in Canada Workplace Pensions: Next Generation or Final Frontier

Document type Article
Author Ngo, Macduy
Journal Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal
Volume 19
Date 2015-2016
Pages [i]-316

Abstract

This paper considers the potential of Quebec's unique "decree system" as a measure that could be used to combat the rapid growth of precarious work in Canada. Under this system, which is also known as "juridical extensions," the province's government may order that a collective agreement covering a certain type of work be "extended" so as to be binding on all employers and employees in the sector, regardless of whether or not they are parties to a collective bar- gaining relationship. There are several reasons why precarious workers may benefit from an expansion and renewal of the decree system. First, the fact that decree coverage is broadly linked to the nature of the work performed avoids many of the regulatory problems that arise from labour market segmentation based on employment status or the form of the relationship. Thus, individuals who are in a disguised employment arrangement or in an agency or triangular work relationship (and who therefore may be excluded from labour relations, employment standards and other protective legislation) are entitled to the wages and benefits prescribed by an extended agreement. Second, parity committees - historically responsible for the administration and enforcement of extended agreements - could serve as the preferred platform for delivery of harmonized, sector-based pension, benefit and training programs. Third, those committees could be reconceived so as to facilitate workers'participation in decision-making at the enterprise level and thereby to promote industrial democracy. The author argues that while a comprehensive response to precariousness would likely require afar-ranging reevaluation of Canada's approach to labour market regu- lation, the decree system could provide at least a partial or intermediate solution.