The BCGEU is welcoming news the federal government has introduced legislation to reverse anti-union laws introduced by the Stephen Harper government last year. In the House of Commons today, the Liberals introduced legislation that would reverse changes to laws under Bill-377, which placed vastly expanded requirements on unions to disclose how members’ dues are spent.
“This legislation had nothing to do with financial transparency, and was designed to create an onerous regime that wasted union resources and significantly violated privacy legislation,” said BCGEU treasurer Paul Finch. “These Conservative laws were a clear attack on the rights of working people, and designed to make it more difficult for unions to organize workers and represent the members in their unions.”
Under Bill-377 unions are required to disclose any spending of $5,000 or more, in addition to other expenditures. The Canada Revenue Agency publicly posts the information on its website. Salaries, disability payments and medical expenses – along with names of individuals who received them - have the potential to be disclosed to the public. An infringement on privacy, it also provides detailed information on the activities of unions that could be used to the advantage of anti-labour groups or employers.
Bill-377 was opposed by unions from coast to coast, the Canadian Bar Association, and seven provincial governments.
“At the BCGEU, we pride ourselves on our financial transparency to members. We publish our audited financial statements every year in The Provincial magazine. As well, they are on our website,” said Finch. “It would be wrong and undemocratic if the unelected Conservative Senators used their majority to block passage of the legislation introduced today by the Liberals.”
Today’s legislation would also make changes to the Conservatives Bill-525 which made it more difficult for unions to organize in federally regulated workplaces.
For more information: Evan Stewart BCGEU Communications 604-291-9611.
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