Government takes steps to repeal Bills C-377 and C-525

In an act of sense and fairmindedness that can be
sadly uncommon in government, the federal Liberals have taken the first step
toward repealing repressive anti-union legislation.

On January 28, 2016, Labour Minister
MaryAnn Mihychuk tabled legislation that would repeal Bill C-377, the much
derided anti-union legislation that was pushed through by the former
Conservative Government under Harper.

Bill C-4[1] removes
from the Income Tax Act, the
requirement for labour organizations and labour trusts to provide to the Canada
Revenue Agency information returns. Grossly intrusive of internal union
affairs, Bill C-377 mandated that unions disclose how they spend members’ dues
for all transactions over $5,000.   Not
only that. Following receipt of this information from unions, the CRA was to
make the information available to the public. No other organizations were
subject to the same level of scrutiny. Unions were singled out. In forcing unions to comply with onerous financial reporting obligations under Bill C-377, the Bill
was viewed by many as an attempt to undermine organized labour.

Minister Mihychuk has stated that the
reporting obligations imposed by Bill C-377 was essentially a solution to a
problem that didn’t exist, as unions already disclose details of their finances
to their members. In other words, the Bill scrutinized unions unnecessarily.

In another point of good news for unions, Bill C-4
would repeal Bill C-525 passed by the former Conservative Government. Bill
C-525 fundamentally altered the certification and decertification process for
workers in federally regulated workplaces. According to the
Minister Mihychuk has noted the negative effects of Bills C-377 and C-525,
stating: “
the election we committed to repeal these bills because they hinder the
working relationships
between workers and employers.”

In its current incarnation, Bill C-525 removes the
card check system and replaced it with a relatively complicated two-step
process. The bill also makes it much simpler to decertify a bargaining agent. Minister
Mihychuk impugns the Conservatives’ motivation in passing Bill C-525, stating: “
motivation was an attempt to undermine the labour movement both by making it
more difficult to certify and making it
much easier to decertify/”
While Bill C-4 is likely to pass the Liberal-majority
in the House of Commons, some Conservatives have indicated that the Bill could
be blocked by the Senate, which is dominated by Conservatives. We can only wait
to see what will happen to Bill C-4 as it progresses.

One thing that can be noted now is that the tabling of
Bill C-4 appears to signal a willingness of the federal Liberals to take a hard
look at labour policy in Canada and to engage in reform of labour laws. If
Minister Mihychuk’s bill is any indication, the Liberals may just restore a
sense of fair and sensible labour relations in Canada.

[1] An Act to amend the Canada Labour Code, the
Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act, the Public Service Labour
Relations Act and the Income Tax Act.

You may also like

Lufthansa Flights Canceled Due to Strike

Lufthansa Flights Canceled Due to Strike

We Have a lot to Thank Unions For

We Have a lot to Thank Unions For

This Week in the History of the International Labour Movement Wagner Act

This Week in the History of the International Labour Movement Wagner Act
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our Bulletin now!