1. It's unnecessary. Labour unions are already transparent and are required by federal, provincial and territorial legislation and their own constitutions to be democratically accountable and to provide regular financial reports to their membership. Financial statements are prepared regularly and disclosed at Local meetings and Convention. Salaries of elected officials and staff are also disclosed to union membership at least annually.
2. It's highly discriminatory. Bill C-377 specifically targets labour organizations for highly detailed reporting and disclosure on a public website. No other organization in Canada -- public, private or crown corporations, non-profit organizations, charities, political parties, even fully-publicly funded government departments, ministers, members of parliament or senators -- are required to report and publically disclose details of their internal finances and affairs to anywhere the same degree unions will have to under Bill C-377.
3. It imposes onerous and absurdly detailed reporting. The Bill imposes absurdly detailed reporting and disclosure requirements on all labour organizations, including those with as few as one member, forcing them to submit at least 24 different detailed statements, including any cumulative transactions above $5,000, separately identifying the payer, payee, and the purpose and description of the transaction, including any legal services or health benefits paid for employees.
4. It's profoundly hypocritical. All labour organizations will be forced report and disclose at least 24 different detailed financial and activity statements under Bill C-377 for use of their own independent funds. Members of Parliament disclose using only one financial statement (with only 14 items) while Senators only report five items in a single statement for their use of public funds.
5. It's extraordinarily intrusive. Nothing in peace time comes close to the degree of intrusion into the affairs of independent organizations that this bill would legislate.
6. It would set a dangerous precedent. Conservative Senator Hugh Segal says, "I imagine that, were it to pass, subsequent legislation...might be aimed at newspapers; networks, TV and otherwise; student groups; universities; junior baseball leagues; and even, God forbid, community soccer. Where we are headed with this bill is down a dark alley to a very dark place indeed."
7. It’s unconstitutional. Numerous constitutional experts have testified that the Bill interferes with provincial jurisdiction over labour relations, and five provinces have already objected to the Bill.
8. It undermines fundamental legal rights and freedoms in Canada guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and other statutes. The Canadian Bar Association and legal experts have testified that the Bill undermines fundamental rights in a free and democratic society, including freedom of association, freedom of expression, as well as political rights, rights to personal and commercial privacy and confidentiality, and solicitor-client privilege.
9. It's unfair and anti-democratic. Bill C-377 was conceived and strongly promoted by Labour Watch and Merit Canada, organizations representing anti-union employers. The extraordinarily detailed disclosure provisions will give them an unfair advantage in business, enabling them to undermine unions, unionized employers and unionized workers at every step.
10. It creates costly, burdensome and unnecessary paperwork and regulations for labour organizations and the Canada Revenue Agency. Bill C-377 seems designed to tie labour organizations in red tape and then to fine them punitively if they don’t comply. Set up and compliance will cost both labour organizations and the federal government tens of millions. Every penny spent will reduce the capacity of labour unions to work for better conditions for their members and other Canadians -- and federal government spending on this will take away from other public services.
11. It imposes excessive and punitive fines and penalties on unions. Any labour organization that fails to comply with its onerous requirements will be fined $1,000 a day and up to $25,000 a year for non-compliance. The Canada Revenue Agency itself estimates it will levy annual fines of $72-million as a result of this bill, but total fines could amount to over $600 million a year -- for not filing unnecessary paperwork. In comparison, the federal government only collected $2.4-million in fines over 20 years under the environmental protection act from corporations -- for the very real damages.