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Jan
2016
26

C-4 to Your Door, No Beef No More: Canadian Treasury Righting (Some of) Old Admin’s Labor Wrongs

Scott Brison, new Treasury Board head, with Newly-elected Liberal PM Justin Trudea

Scott Brison, new Treasury Board head, with Newly-elected Liberal PM Justin Trudea


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In Canada, the Treasury Board has notified public sector unions that one of its “first orders of business” when parliament resumes this week is to repeal sections of Bill C-59, which gave the government the power to impose a unilateral sick-leave standard.  The news comes as Canada’s largest public sector union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), prepares for its first bargaining session with the newly elected liberal government.  The sections of Bill C-59 which will be repealed had threatened to hamper progress in the negotiations.

In a statement regarding the news, PSAC President Robyn Benson said:

“We are pleased that the new Liberal government has promised to repeal the labour law changes in Bill C-59 and given assurances that the will not unilaterally take away our negotiated sick leave provisions.”

There remains some discord between unions and the new government relating to sections of the Omnibus Bill, C-4.  The bill was passed in 2013 by the former conservative government and made drastic changes to the way the government bargains with public service unions.  In their letter, the Treasury Board said the government “intends to engage in consultations,” and that the process will be “put in place at the earliest opportunity.”

PSAC President Benson said of Bill C-4:

“We want the government to do the same with C-4 so our union and Treasury Board can go back to a system of fair collective bargaining on a level-playing field and achieve a collective agreement that strengthens public services for all Canadians. We continue to oppose the labour law changes imposed through the Conservative government’s Bill C-4.”  

The president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, Debi Daviau, praised the Treasury Board for their intentions but admitted she has her doubts about the future of negotiating under C-4.  She told the Ottawa Citizen that “the jury was still out” on whether unions can effectively bargain under C-4’s rules:

“We believe we can progress, but I don’t know if we can conclude this round fairly with C-4 in play.  We would like to see them take our advice to repeal those anti-labour bits of C-4, go back to the old process, and then go into the consultation process to review the legislation.  We are in the middle of a round of bargaining that can’t be concluded without this being addressed. We don’t have time for a long, drawn-out consultation process.”

For more information on the upcoming C-4 court case, read this article from the National Post.

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