President's Commentary: Repealing anti-union laws is a win for all Canadians

The demise of those bills will be cause for all of us to celebrate. Let’s hope this represents the beginning of a new and important era of respect for labour rights and working people in Canada by our federal government.

Ottawa (01 Feb. 2016) — It’s not just unions and union members who will win when the federal Liberals make good on their pledge to repeal the anti-labour laws Harper forced through in the dying days of his government. The fact is that strong unions matter to every single Canadian.

Strong unions matter because the freedom to join together in groups and speak our minds freely is vital to the health and prosperity of our communities and our country. Put another way, unions matter to us all because they

  • Raise the standards of living for everybody, union members and non-union members alike
  • Reduce inequality, particularly income inequality
  • Protect our human rights by giving us the power to fight discrimination in all its forms
  • Strengthen our democracy by increasing voter participation

The Supreme Court understands

The Supreme Court of Canada understands this. Last year, it issued three strong judgements protecting the right of all Canadians to belong to a union and to exercise their right to strike. Unions, the Court wrote, support “the values of human dignity, equality, liberty, respect for the autonomy of the person and the enhancement of democracy.”

Bill C-377 would have required unions to provide an incredibly onerous level of detailed financial disclosure about their work on behalf of their members, and Bill C-525 would have made it harder for unions to organize in federally regulated workplaces.

Thankfully, our new federal government shares the Supreme Court’s understanding that unions matter. The majority of provincial premiers understand that, too. As do the Canadian Bar Association, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, and a whole host of other organizations and civil society groups who spoke out loudly against C-377 and C-525.

Cause to celebrate

The demise of those bills will be cause for all of us to celebrate. Let’s hope this represents the beginning of a new and important era of respect for labour rights and working people in Canada by our federal government.

In solidarity, 

James Clancy
NUPGE National President

NUPGE

James Clancy is the National President of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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