Would NHL lockout violate Quebec labor laws?

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The current CBA is set to expire on Sept. 15 and the two sides are still far apart. If a new deal isn’t reached by the time the old CBA ends, then the NHL will presumably lock out the players.

Montreal forward Erik Cole is still hoping that a deal will be reached next week. However, the Canadiens players are prepared to go to the Quebec Labour Board if the NHL continues with their lockout threats, according to Dave Stubbs.

“The NHL seems content to lock out the players if an agreement isn’t reached this week,” Cole said, “and we would like the Quebec Labour Board to step in and inform them that their lockout would be in direct violation of the Quebec labour laws.”

Quebec law will only allow employers to lock out employees represented by a union. However, the NHLPA hasn’t been certified by the Quebec Labour Board.

“The NHLPA went to the QLB to start the process to (have the union) certified in April 2005 but the NHL formally opposed this,” NHLPA spokesperson Jonathan Weatherdon said.

“In Quebec, replacement workers can’t be used (during a lockout). Being certified would therefore have stopped the Canadiens from using scab players in Year Two of the lockout.”

It’s worth mentioning that the NHLPA is also trying to prevent the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames from having a lockout vote by taking their case to the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

In Ontario, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have already gotten permission to lock out their players on Sept. 15.