Bill C-377 – an attack on unions

July 3, 2015

It has been described as cynical, corrupt and dangerous. It has been opposed by unions coast to coast to coast, the Canadian Bar Association, academics and seven provinces. Even the association representing players in the NHL is against it.

Still, the Canadian Senate, this week, shut down debate and imposed the passage of Bill C-377, a law that forces labour unions to disclose how they spend their money.

Unions will now have to disclose any spending of $5,000 or more, in addition to other expenditures. The Canada Revenue Agency will publically post the information on its website.

It’s a frightening infringement on privacy, as many have told us. Salaries, disability payments and medical expenses – along with names of individuals who received them - have the potential to be disclosed to the public.

There are even more reasons this bill is bad for union members:

  • Anti-labour groups and employers will now have access to the financial details and inner workings of unions. Information they don’t have to make public. At the BCGEU, we pride ourselves on our financial transparency to members. We’re accountable to you. We publish our audited financial statements annually in The Provincial Magazine. As well, they’re on our web site. (Scroll to the final section of the publication).
  • There will be a significant cost to unions, their suppliers and taxpayers in the form of red tape. Millions of dollars and thousand of hours will be needed to produce the expense reports that must be filed. Money that should be used on member services. The reporting requirements of this bill are designed to keep us from doing the job of representing you in the fashion we want.

The labour movement is planning next steps. We’ll communicate them out to you at a later date.

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