Vancouver (06 April 2018) — Tonie Beharrell, of the Health Sciences Association of B.C.'s legal department, presented the union's submission to the government’s Labour Relations Code review panel in March. The submission outlines 14 recommendations regarding reform to the Labour Relations Code.
HSABC/NUPGE's submission to the review panel focuses on restoring fairness to B.C.'s labour relations system
From March 21 to April 16, the government is hosting 9 public regional consultations across B.C.. HSABC/NUPGE's recommendations pertain to the acquisition of bargaining rights, unfair labour practices, successorship, certifications, and the code’s general provisions.
“The current legal landscape does not reflect, in spirit, workers’ Charter-protected rights to freedom of association,” said Val Avery, HSABC President. “Our comprehensive recommendations seek to restore greater fairness to the province’s labour relations system.”
Beginning in 2001, the Liberal government in B.C. initiated significant changes to the code that weakened workers’ ability to join a union and eroded collective bargaining rights.
Supreme Court found Liberal government's legislation stripping away rights from health care workers unconstitutional
Among HSABC/NUPGE’s recommendations is the repeal of Bill 29 and Bill 94 in their entirety, which remove union protections for health care workers. Implemented in 2002, the Health and Social Services Delivery Improvement Act — later deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court of Canada — allowed the government to violate health care contracts and community social service contracts and contract out union jobs to private service providers.
It struck out collective agreement provisions that provided a union with successorship rights, and prevented the future negotiation of such provisions. Bill 94 expanded the scope of Bill 29, providing similar employer rights to private contractors in the health sector.
“Under bill 29, we saw HSABC/NUPGE members stripped of severance benefits, job protections, and wage parity measures fairly negotiated into collective agreements. The harsh legacy of Bill 29 still ripples across the health and community social services sectors,” said Avery.
While many of Bill 29’s provisions were later invalidated as a result of the Supreme Court decision, certain remaining articles still weaken successorship protections.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 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