Merit Canada Congratulates the House of Commons for its Commitment to Union Transparency

OTTAWA, Dec. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - Today the House of Commons passed an important piece of legislation. Bill C-377, a Private Members' Bill sponsored by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert, will require unions and other labour organizations in Canada to file annual public reports on spending, salaries and political activities. If this legislation is passed by the Senate, it will bring public transparency to the over $4-billion that unions collect annually in forced contributions from workers.

"The support of the House of Commons for union financial transparency is warmly welcomed by Merit Canada and all working Canadians. It is recognition that union leaders are obliged to be accountable for very generous benefits provided at public expense," said Terrance Oakey, President of Merit Canada.

A 2011 poll by Nanos Research found that 83% of Canadians and 86% of union members agree that unions should be required to disclose how they spend their dues.

Bill C-377 will require unions to report annually their financial statements, salaries paid to senior union employees, the amount of time spent on lobbying and political activities and certain information about expenditures over $5,000. This legislation brings Canada's union financial disclosure laws in-line with those in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"Transparency and accountability are fundamental to democracy.  If unions want to enjoy the dual benefits of mandatory dues collection and beneficial tax treatment, then they need to earn it," continued Oakey.

The Bill was amended at Report Stage following a filibuster by NDP MP Alexandre Boulerice at the Standing Committee on Finance.

"The amendments adopted improve the Bill by addressing legitimate privacy concerns. We welcome these amendments, accept the support of the House of Commons, and call on all Parliamentarians to support the Bill's adoption," stated Oakey.

More information regarding Bill C-377 is available at www.uniontransparency.ca.

About Merit Canada

Merit Canada is the national voice of Canada's eight provincial Open Shop construction associations. Open Shop companies and workers build more than 70% of the industrial, commercial/institutional, and residential construction projects coast to coast to coast. As of June 2011, the Canadian construction sector employed 1.26 million Canadians with 900,000 working in the "open shop" sector.

SOURCE: Merit Canada

For further information:

Terrance Oakey
President, Merit Canada
terrance.oakey@meritcanada.ca
(613) 601-2350