Striking Quebec lawyers, notaries to be forced back to work with special law

At a news conference on Saturday, Treasury Board President Pierre Moreau announced the back-to-work legislation would be introduced Monday at the National Assembly.

Government employees have been on strike since October

Quebec Treasury Board president Pierre Moreau said he felt the province had to table back-to-work legislation after making five offers to association representatives. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

The provincial government says it will table a special law that would force more than a thousand striking government lawyers and notaries back to work. 

At a news conference on Saturday, Treasury Board President Pierre Moreau announced the back-to-work legislation would be introduced 5 p.m. Monday at the National Assembly. 

"We're no longer in a situation where negotiations are possible," said Moreau. 

"We were there in good faith. Unfortunately we were alone at the table." 

This comes after the government presented what it considered its final offer to the association representing lawyers and notaries on Thursday, which reportedly included a wage increase.

Association representatives were expected to meet with negotiators over the weekend to propose a counter-offer. 

Moreau said that meeting never happened and the association tried to push it back to another date.

Quebec government lawyers and notaries have been working without a contract for nearly two years and began a general unlimited strike in October to push contract negotiations. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

18 weeks of negotiations

Moreau said despite making five different offers over the last 18 weeks, the association never once changed its mind. 

He then accused them of playing games during the negotiations and never bringing to the table an offer in good faith. 

"Being serious in negotiations implies a very different attitude than what they've been showing us up until now," he said.

Approximately 1,100 lawyers and notaries have been on strike since late October and have been without a collective agreement since March 2015.

They are asking for the same work conditions as public prosecutors and want their contract to be submitted to binding arbitration. 

Moreau said the strike has led to delays in administrative courts, Revenu Québec and at the National Assembly.

He added that negotiations can continue right up until the back-to-work legislation is tabled.