When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won the 2015 federal election he pledged to reverse two laws that were viewed by many across the country as anti-union.
In November of that year he restated that commitment when he spoke at the Canadian Labour Congress gathering in Ottawa, stating that ‘labour is not a problem, but a solution.’
Unfortunately, not everyone in government sees it that way.
The Senate amended Bill C-4 that reversed the original intent, which was to repeal C-377 and C-525.
Bill C-377 received royal assent on June 30, 2015, on the last day of Parliament and after years of debate. The amendment to the Income Tax Act, targets labour organizations with critics arguing that it is unconstitutional and violates the rights and privacy of all Canadians.
Bill C-525 would make the union certification process very difficult, eliminating the automatic card check certification and replacing it with a two-stage process adding a voting process in addition to card signing.
Many have argued that this extra vote gives employers the opportunity to intimidate workers before the second stage of the process where they vote on joining a union.
In a vote by the Senate, mostly supported by Conservatives, they changed the bill to keep the elements of Bill C-525.
However, a spokesperson for federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu signalled that the government would be voting to reverse the Senate changes, according to the Globe and Mail.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail Hassan Yussuff, President of the CLC, said that the card check system has not shown any signs of problems.
“It prevents employers from intimidating and interfering,” he explained. Every time there is a vote, employers do interfere. They express their opinion. They threaten to close the workplace.”
The labour movement, and those who want to unionize, will be keeping a close eye on the Senate as more developments come forward over the next few weeks.