July 22, 2013
The Honourable Kellie Leitch
House of Commons
Dear Minister Leitch:
I extend my congratulations to you on your appointment as Minister of Labour. I look forward to having face-to-face meetings with you in the near future on a number of issues of concern to our members.
In addition to our members in the federal public service and various agencies, the Public Service Alliance of Canada represents over 12,500 employees in 180 national, territorial and local bargaining units under the Canada Labour Code.
I write today to raise one matter of particular concern – Bill C-525. This is the Bill introduced by the Conservative Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin (Alberta), Mr. Blaine Calkins, just before the summer recess. Bill C-525 proposes to change the certification and revocation sections of the Canada Labour Code, the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the Parliamentary Employees Staff Relations Act.
As the government of Canada’s Labour Minister, you know that the Canada Labour Code is crafted to protect freedom of association rights including the right to organize. The Code is intended to encourage harmonious and effective labour relations and it reflects Canada’s international commitments set out in various conventions and recommendations of the International Labour Organization. The preamble of the Canada Labour Code states, “there is a long tradition in Canada of labour legislation and policy designed for the promotion of the common well-being through the encouragement of free collective bargaining and the constructive settlement of disputes.”
Bill C-525 is in direct conflict with this statement of Canadian labour policy. Should the bill become law, it will upset the important balance between the rights of workers to organize and the interests of employers. Further, for the first time, Bill C-525 would institute changes to the Labour Code without prior discussion with unions and employers. In fact, Bill C-525 includes amendments that were explicitly rejected by the last full-scale review of Part One of the Canada Labour Code carried out by an expert task force chaired by Andrew C.L. Sims, QC.
I am sure you will find that the current system of certification and decertification works well. Bill C-525 is unnecessary and threatens to damage labour relations in all workplaces that fall under the jurisdiction of the Canada Labour Code.
I am writing to ask you whether you oppose or support Bill C-525, and whether we can count on you to uphold the rights of Canadian workers who fall under federal jurisdiction. I look forward to your early reply.