Federal legislation to put Canada Post workers back on the job officially passed Monday and will take effect at noon ET on Tuesday, forcing an end to rotating strikes.
The Senate initially voted to pass Bill C-89 on Monday, and it received royal assent the same day.
In a statement, Employment, Workforce and Labour Minister Patty Hajdu said the legislation was a “last resort” after the government spent “over a year” trying to see Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) reach a new collective bargaining agreement.
Those efforts have included assistance from federal conciliation officers, mediators and a special mediator, she said.
“Having exhausted all other options, it is necessary to protect the public interest and avoid further harm to the Canadian economy,” the statement said.
Senators voted against an amendment, proposed by independent Sen. Murray Sinclair, to delay implementation of the legislation for at least seven days after it receives royal assent.
The CUPW maintains the legislation is unconstitutional and has vowed to challenge it in court.
WATCH: Senator says Senate did ‘right thing’ in passing Canada Post back-to-work legislation
The bill was passed by a 53-25 margin after being rushed through the House of Commons last week.
Senators were initially given the bill so they could talk about it and possibly pass it over the weekend, but they delayed the vote to Monday.
Independent Sen. Yuen Pau Woo said the extra time to study the bill was necessary.
WATCH: Canadian senator says delaying debate for Canada Post back-to-work legislation a day informed discussion
“We were asked to go to third reading on Saturday night. That would have been a hastily organized debate, and we didn’t do that,” he said.
“I thought the extra time we took was valuable and was a demonstration of how the Senate should be reviewing government bills.”
Meanwhile, independent Sen. Frances Lankin said she was “disappointed for the workers in this situation.”
Canadian senator disappointed for workers after Canada Post back-to-work legislation passes Senate
“I don’t think the story’s over because the relationship, workplace relationship between these two parties is so poisoned,” she said.
The government deemed its passage urgent due to the economic impact of continued mail disruptions during the busy holiday season.
The bill calls for the resumption of postal services and the imposition of a mediation process to resolve the dispute between the Crown corporation and CUPW.
Negotiations have been underway for some time, but the dispute escalated more recently when CUPW members launched rotating strikes on Oct. 22.
Those walkouts have led to backlogs of mail and parcel deliveries at the Crown corporation’s main sorting plants in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Canada Post has said the backlog of mail and parcels has led to delivery delays that will likely persist through the holiday season and into January 2019.
WATCH: Ground rules laid out for striking Canada Post workers
The union sought better pay and job security, guaranteed hours for its 8,000 rural and suburban carriers and equality for those workers with the corporation’s 42,000 urban employees.
CUPW also wanted Canada Post to adopt rules that it said would cut down on workplace injuries.
Prior to the vote, the union said it would decide how to fight back if the bill becomes law, with its national president Mike Palecek saying “all options” are on the table.
— With files from the Canadian Press
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