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Building Trades-Backed Bill C-4 Nears Passage, Would Right the Wrongs of C-377


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Canada’s Building Trades Unions (CBTU) celebrated the passage of Bill C-4 through the House of Commons last week. The bill aims to repeal anti-labor legislation, most notably Bill C-377, passed by the previous administration during a prior legislative session.

C-377 aggressively targets labor unions with onerous bookkeeping and transparency requirements, as well as exorbitant fees for any organization that fails to adhere to the new standards:

The bill would require 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, which would post the information to its website. That rule could apply to anyone who receives cash from a union, including private contractors hired to do work, such as construction, maintenance, or photocopying.

C-377 was highly controversial when it passed. In addition to the new requirements, many critics noted that C-377 was an invasion of privacy for anyone who did business with a union, and that it was needlessly expensive for the government to enforce:

Liberal Senators say Bill C-377 is “one of the worst bills we’ve ever seen” and have pledged to sit through the summer to try and defeat or delay it.

Conservative Senator Hugh Segal has called the private member’s bill targeting unions “immature, ill-conceived and small-minded.”  And yet Harper’s Conservatives gave the bill its full support, forcing it through the House of Commons and threatening Senators who don’t vote for it.

Relief may now be in sight, however, with the advancement of C-4:

Bob Blakely, CBTU Chief Operating Officer, noted that, “this legislation reflects this government’s understanding of the importance of the role that Unions play in the middle class workforce in Canada. We are pleased this was one of the first pieces of Government legislation introduced in the 42nd Parliament.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and ESDC Minister MaryAnn Mihychuck understand that C-377 was punitive legislation which was ideologically driven and not good public policy…The passage of C-4 will ensure that CBTU can continue to represent the interests of skilled trades workers across Canada and help grow Canada’s economy.

CBTU will now begin working to help C-4 pass through the Senate.


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