Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Alberta Union launches challenge to Bill C-377

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) has launched a legal challenge against Bill C-377. The New Brunswick Union (NBU) fully supports this action and has remained consistent in describing the bill and undemocratic, unconstitutional and designed to upset the balance of power in collective bargaining in favour of the employer.
Bill C-377 is an attack on the constitutionally guaranteed labour rights of Canadians. The bill changes the Income Tax Act to make it mandatory for all labour organizations, including those regulated under provincial law, to publicly file detailed annual financial statements covering salaries, revenues, and expenses. The legislation sets a $1,000 a-day fine to a maximum of $25,000 per organization for non-compliance. It would also ensure that detailed personal financial information would be publicly available on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
Since it was introduced, Bill C-377 has been widely criticized for its high financial costs, unconstitutionality, violations of privacy and, ultimately, for its lack of necessity.
The legislation has been strongly opposed by seven provinces, the federal NDP and Liberal parties, constitutional law experts, Canada’s Privacy Commissioner, the Canadian Bar Association, the NHL Players' Association, the insurance and mutual fund industry, and a long and diverse list of others in the business, financial, professional, legal, labour, and academic communities.
The AUPE application was filed in the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. It claims the bill intrudes on the provincial jurisdiction regarding labour relations, violates union members' Charter rights and asks the court to rule the legislation invalid.
"This bill singles out unions and their members for needless scrutiny that no other organization in Canada is subjected to," said AUPE President Guy Smith in a press release. "It's discriminatory and unfair to hundreds of thousands of working Canadians."
While supporters of the legislation claim the bill is about transparency, NBU President Susie Proulx-Daigle sais unions are already transparent with their members.
"We speak directly with our membership as well as provide budgets and detailed financial statements to all our members," Proulx-Daigle said. "The only people this legislation benefits is anti-union groups and employers who can use unions' financial information to gain an upper hand at the bargaining table."