The Reconciliation Project of Labour Law


Supriya Routh

Date added: 

Monday, October 2, 2023


This paper is available at: ABSTRACT: Historically, in Canada, labour law has not only failed to protect Indigenous working people from the exclusionary logic of (colonization-induced) market capitalism but also marginalized (peripheral and vulnerable) working people among the settlers. In spite of the Canadian judiciary's attempt to articulate a broader vision of labour law through the values of justice, liberty, equity, and participatory democracy, the foundational private contractual rationale of labour law acts as a constraint on the judiciary's ability to develop a broader– and more inclusive–regulatory justification. In this article, I suggest that this tension between expansive normative values and narrow (exclusionary) regulatory justification of labour law could be usefully addressed by employing the idea of reconciliation, originally conceived to fashion the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. I argue that an appropriately formulated idea of reconciliation should be able to promote a more inclusive conceptual foundation of labour law, one that is receptive of non-Eurocentric world-views in its foundational narrative and democratic in its continued execution. In so aiding labour law, the reconciliation perspective can close the gap between normative values and regulatory justification of the discipline.