Union Drives slowed by Bill Delay

Ottawa, ON – Many Canadian unions have placed their membership drives on hold because a Liberal labour-bill designed to overturn a Conservative law on certification has yet to be passed.

Bill C-525, An Act to Amend the Canada Labour Code enacted last year, abolished the card check system in favour of secret balloting to certify new collective bargaining units in federally-regulated workplaces. Although the Liberal cabinet vowed to repeal Bill C-525 last January, a cabinet measure to repeal the bill was introduced in the House of Commons on January 28, 2016 but has awaited Third reading debate in the Commons since May 12th. Due to the summer recess of parliament until September 19th, Bill C-525 stays in place. “Many of our affiliates have put their organizing drives on hold until the repeal bill is passed,” explained Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress. “We want this repeal bill passed, Bill C-525 allows  the employer too much freedom to be more active than they normally would be in the card –signing process. Federal labour minister MayAnn Mihychuk acknowledges Bill C-525 actually reduced unionization.

Confidential research conducted by the labour department in 2013 stated the repeal of the card check system by some provinces actually assisted to drive down unionization rates. The report, Union Certification Regimes and Declining Density, said under the card-check scheme there is a smaller window of opportunity for management to oppose a union bid.