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The union that represents locked-out employees at Toronto’s Exhibition Place says the company has brought in out-of-province workers to ensure the Canadian National Exhibition is able to start on time.

Exhibition Place’s board of governors says it decided to lock out 400 stagehands represented by the IATSE Local 58 after months of bargaining.

The board says it wants to update the workers’ contract to reflect the “highly competitive” marketplace, and that it thinks the dispute should be settled at the bargaining table rather than in arbitration like the union has suggested.

The union says the board of governors “refuses to bargain in good faith” and that its workers will continue to picket through the duration of the CNE if the dispute isn’t resolved.

But the board says preparations are well underway for the CNE and those hoping to attend shouldn’t worry about those on the picket lines, beyond allowing for a bit of extra time to enter the grounds.

This year’s CNE is set to begin Friday.

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