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RCMP collective bargaining bill gets final Senate approval

A bill that creates a new labour relations framework for Royal Canadian Mounted Police members and reservists, including a collective bargaining model tailored to the force, is set to become law after being adopted in the Senate today.

This comes after the House of Commons addressed key concerns raised by the Senate last year — in particular the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence — by broadening the scope of collective bargaining.

Bill C-7 amends the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act to provide, among other things:

  • The freedom for RCMP members and reservists to choose whether to be represented by a bargaining agent;
  • The right to an independent, binding arbitration dispute resolution process to settle impasses, with no right to strike;
  • A single, national-in-scope bargaining unit for RCMP members appointed to a rank and reservists;
  • The requirement that the RCMP bargaining agent have as its primary mandate the representation of RCMP members.

 

The bill, as amended, differs from the original in that it removes restrictions on what may be included in collective agreements and arbitral awards that are specific to the RCMP, including rates of pay, hours of work and leave provisions, such as designated paid holidays, vacation leave, sick leave and parental leave.  

The amended bill also incorporates a more targeted management rights clause that takes into account the specific circumstances of the RCMP as a police organization.

These amendments broaden the scope of what can be discussed and incorporated into a collective agreement, including matters commonly associated with harassment and workplace wellness, appointments and appraisals, and measures to mitigate the impact of discharges and demotions of RCMP members.

The House also rejected several other Senate amendments. The Senate concurred with the message from the House.

The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Senator Larry Campbell, will become law after receiving Royal Assent.