A commitment to repeal anti-union bills by the new Prime Minister, was reinforced last week.
Not only were labour unions happy about the announcement, but so were other social activist groups and citizens across Canada who were concerned about threats to rights and freedoms of all Canadians.
Last week Justin Trudeau spoke at the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) gathering in Ottawa. According to the Globe and Mail it was ‘the first time a sitting prime minister has addressed the country’s biggest labour body in more than 50 years.’
This past year, bills that had a direct affect on labour made headlines across the country. Bill C-525 and Bill C – 377 not only caused critics to question what effects they would have on labour unions, but Canadian’s human rights in general.
During his election campaign, Trudeau promised to repeal the anti-union bills if he won.
His appearance at the CLC gathering, offered a perfect opportunity to see where Trudeau stood on the issues.
Trudeau was greeted with a large applause when he said he would ‘fufill the Liberal promise to repeal Bills C-377 and C-525 — the former Conservative government’s anti-union legislation.’
“Labour is not a problem, but a solution,” said Trudeau.
Bill C-377 received royal assent on June 30 after years of debate. The amendment to the Income Tax Act, targets labour organizations with the intention of creating ‘more transparency’, while critics argued it is unconstitutional and violates the rights and privacy of all Canadians.
The bill requires ‘unions, labour trusts and employee associations to disclose any transaction of more than $5,000, along with the names of the payer and payee, to the Canada Revenue Agency.’ Also included in the bill is that unions would have to disclose ‘any executive or officer who earns more than $100,000.’
Critics said that it was unconstitutional, not needed and costly and burdensome.
A main reason it is not needed is that many unions already share their financial statements with their members. Teamsters review their financial statements at regularly scheduled meetings, making the process transparent and open.
The bill is also unconstitutional in that it would breach privacy laws concerning individual members, regarding information related to their health care and pension.
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.
The Bill also changes decertification of a union and would be changed to where a minority could initiate a decertification vote.
Now that Trudeau has renewed a commitment to repeal the bills, labour groups will definitely be keeping a close eye on how he moves forward.