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Bill Rebalancing Labour Relations Passes Senate

Bill Rebalancing Labour Relations Passes Senate

Legislation that restores the balance between labour, management and government is set to become law.

Bill C-4, sponsored by Senator Diane Bellemare, enacts a clear election commitment to Canadians to repeal C-377 and C-525 — legislation that weakened the collective bargaining process.

  • C-377 placed onerous and unnecessary requirements on labour organizations and labour trusts to file detailed information returns for public disclosure – or face financial penalties. Several provinces argued the legislation was unconstitutional as it encroached on their jurisdiction over labour issues.
  • C-525 made it more difficult to certify a union and slightly easier to decertify a bargaining agent by replacing the card-check system with a mandatory secret ballot system.

The Senate initially amended the bill to retain the secret ballot vote system of C-525. The House of Commons rejected the amendment, and today the Senate concurred with that message.

“I am delighted that my Senate colleagues have listened to the will of Canadians. This legislation restores the balance between labour and management. This is a great day for workers across Canada since C-4 is real action by Parliament for the middle class and shared prosperity,” said Sen. Bellemare.

Senator Peter Harder, the Government Representative in the Senate, said that it has been a longstanding historical practice for the Senate to defer to the House of Commons when it comes to election promises.

“The Senate’s role is to be a complementary chamber of sober second thought – not a rival to Parliament’s elected chamber,” Senator Harder said. “Canadians expect us to be deferential to the women and men they chose to empower through the ballot box.”


Jan. 28, 2016: Bill C-4 introduced in the House of Commons.

Oct. 19, 2016: Bill C-4 passed by the House of Commons.

Oct. 20, 2016: Bill C-4 introduced in the Senate.

April 12, 2017: Bill C-4 passed by the Senate with amendments and message sent to the House of Commons.

May 17, 2017: House of Commons votes to reject the amendments to Bill C-4, and sends message to the Senate.

June 14, 2017: The Senate concurs with the message from the House.