Special law passes forcing government lawyers back to work

Quebec's 1,100 government lawyers and notaries are now required to return to work on Wednesday morning, after the province passed special back-to-work legislation in the National Assembly.

Bill 127 passed 52-38 in the National Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, with the three opposition parties voting against it. The vote followed nearly 24 hours of debate on the bill.

The lawyers and notaries, representing the government in civil, administrative and criminal cases and act as legal counsel for ministers, have been on strike since October. They've been without a contract for nearly two years.

The lawyers had been seeking wage parity with Crown prosecutors.

There is a special provision that gives the two sides 45 more days to come to a new collective agreement, with the possibility of having that period extended if it appears a deal is within reach.

After that, a mediator would settle the dispute within 30 days.