Canada’s building trades unions are very concerned about the unintended, negative consequences of Bill C-377.

A statement issued by the Canadian office of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) states that the legislation would endanger the ability of Canadian workers to participate in large-scale nation-building energy and resource projects.

Bob Blakely, director of Canadian affairs for the BCTD, said the legislation is intended to fix a problem that does not exist.

“A delicate balance has been reached in labour relations in the private sector, especially as it relates to the construction of large energy projects. Unions, contractors and energy producers have already found solutions to problems which plague many other sectors – and the cost implications created by Bill 377 will upset that balance.”

The BCTD maintains that Bill C-377 would actually duplicate process that are already in place to provide accountability and transparency for workers and would create an expanded, expensive and redundant bureaucracy.

The department states that costs of compliance will be extraordinary and beyond that required of any other tax entity and will add considerable costs to the bottom line of large-scale energy projects.

“We are private sector unions,” Blakely said. “Unlike charities and political parties, we receive no public subsidies or public monies.
“The Harper government is taking many right steps to help create and protect jobs for Canadian workers. Bill C-377 will undermine all of the positive results that the Harper government is delivering for Canadian workers.”

Blakely added that it would be a shame to take a step backwards when what the country needs is every foot going forward.

The AFL-CIO BCTD co-ordinates activities and provides resources to 15 affiliated trade unions in the construction, maintenance and fabrication industries. In Canada, the BCTD represents 500,000 skilled trades workers.