The provincial building trades want the federal government to scrap Bill C-377.
A resolution was passed at a meeting of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario on Oct. 20, outlining action to be taken in an effort to get the legislation withdrawn.
The resolution was drafted by Local 793 and put forward by union business manager Mike Gallagher.
The resolution was seconded by Local 793 recording-corresponding secretary Joe Dowdall and was passed unanimously at the meeting.
The resolution directs the building trades council to research and prepare a brief outlining the key areas where Bill C-377 might infringe upon areas that have traditionally been under provincial authority.
The trades maintain that the provisions of Bill C-377 effectively regulate the activities of provincial trade unions and impact on privacy legislation, both of which are historically within the authority of the provincial governments.
The resolution directs the building trades council to meet with representatives of the provincial government to present its brief and encourage the government to exercise its power to protect its jurisdiction, and influence the federal government to withdraw Bill C-377.
If that doesn’t happen, though, the resolution directs the trades, in conjunction with the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, to prepare a legal defence and commit to fight Bill C-377, up to and including at the Supreme Court of Canada.
The trades maintain Bill C-377 is discriminatory in nature since labour organizations are targeted while professional organizations, clubs, charities and other such organizations are exempt.
The resolution states that the Bill also intrudes on the privacy interests of individual citizens as well as trade unions, and impinges on many activities such as freedom of speech and conscience, which are protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The trades maintain that the financial disclosure requirements that would be imposed by Bill C-377 would prove to be onerous and costly, both for unions and the federal government.
The true cost to the Canadian taxpayer to implement and administer the provisions of Bill C-377 are unknown, but estimated to be in the millions of dollars annually, according to the resolution.
In a presentation to the building trades on Oct. 19, Bob Blakely, director of Canadian Affairs for the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, said that, if implemented, Bill C-377 would be costly for unions.
He expects it would add 20 per cent to administration costs for unions because of the number of reports that would have to be filed.