News / Ottawa

Liberals move to repeal bills criticized as anti-labour

The Liberals had promised to repeal the bills, criticized as anti-union, but the Conservatives will fight it in the Senate

The Liberal government announced legislation to repeal two laws seen as anti-labour Thursday morning, a move it said would restore balance to workplace relations.

The controversial bills – C-377 and C-525 – were passed by the former Conservative government amid opposition from unions. The Liberals promised to repeal them during the campaign.

"We're proud to be pursuing our commitment to help restore a fair and balanced approach to labour relations in Canada by repealing Bills C-377 and C-525,” Employment Minister MaryAnn Mihychuk said in a statement.

Rodger Cuzner, the parliamentary secretary for employment, said the two bills “have long been seen as solutions to problems that do not exist.”

It's unclear, however, whether the new legislation will pass. The Conservatives have threatened to fight the changes in the Senate, where they currently have a majority.

Bill C-377 introduced financial reporting requirements on unions that many criticized as overreaching and onerous. The legislation was opposed by several provinces and decried as unconstitutional. The Liberal government waived reporting requirements on it late last year.

Bill C-525 changed union certification rules, making it more difficult for some workers to unionize.

Canada's largest public sector union, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, said in a release the bills "were designed to weaken unions" by forcing unreasonable financial reporting and making it more difficult for Canadians in federally-regulated workplaces to join a union.

"We are pleased that the Liberal government has moved quickly to repeal Bills C-377 and C-525," PSAC national president Robyn Benson said in the release. "Both bills were seriously flawed, introduced without consultation with unions or employers and detrimental to the rights of workers."

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, applauded the move to repeal the bills, which it called a “direct attack on unions by the previous Conservative government.”

“This is an important first step to undo the damage that has been done,” Unifor national president Jerry Dias. “However it’s important to note that we have simply been given back rights that were taken from us by the Harper government.”

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