Many workplaces today require employers and unions to work
alongside each other to maintain positive labour relations. In
2012, approximately 31.5% of all employees in Canada belonged to a
union or were covered by a collective agreement. But how much do
employers or the public really know about unions –
specifically how much is known about what the approximate $4.5
billion that is annually collected in union dues is used for?
Answering this question will be simpler when
Bill C-377 comes into force as it will compel public financial
transparency by all Canadian labour organizations.
This bill is not without controversy. It was first introduced in
2013 and has undergone some changes. For example, some of the
disclosure requirements have been modified in an effort to comply
with privacy legislation. Despite the criticisms from various
labour organizations, Bill C-377 received royal assent on June 30,
2015 and will come into effect in six months. Once in effect, all
labour organizations in Canada will face numerous financial
disclosure and reporting requirements aimed at improving
transparency. For example all labour organizations will be required
to report to the Canada Revenue Agency any spending of $5,000 or
more as well as any salary of $100,000 or more. These reports will
then be made public through the Federal Government's website.
These reporting requirements should not be lightly ignored by
labour organizations. Failure to comply with the requirements can
result in a fine of up to $1,000 per day of non-compliance.
Possible Repeal of Bill C-377
Even though Bill C-377 has received royal assent it is still
possible that unions will never be affected by this legislation. A
federal election is scheduled for the fall of 2015 and both the
Liberal and NDP parties have pledged to repeal the legislation if
either was to form government. Furthermore, even if the
Conservatives are re-elected Bill C-377 could be constitutionally
challenged in the courts. Many critics of the bill argue that this
legislation goes to labour relations and should properly be enacted
by the provincial government if it were to be enacted at all. The
provinces are unlikely to enact comparable legislation any time
soon, as five provinces have already stated their opposition to
Effect on Employers
This bill will provide Employers with another avenue to learn
about Union activities and spending within their workplace as well
as broadly throughout the province and Canada. Employers, however,
will have no direct obligations under Bill C-377. This is in
contrast to the American law, on which Bill C-377 is modeled. In
the United States employers are required to disclose spending that
relates to union activity such as arrangements for a consultant to
persuade employees on bargaining and representation rights.
Employers in Canada are not required to file any additional
disclosure documents as a result of this new legislation
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Unfortunately, reasonable accommodation for employees in the workplace continues to be the source of significant litigation and even today we continue to see outrageous examples of employers behaving badly.
A former teacher at Bodwell High School has learned a valuable lesson from the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal— it is not discriminatory for an employer to offer child-related benefits to only employees with children.
We are now beginning to see reported cases involving charges and subsequent fines laid against employers for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect a worker from workplace violence.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).