Jordan Press (The Canadian Press):
The federal government has taken its first step towards repealing a controversial law that would have required unions to disclose finite details of their spending.
The government says it is waiving requirements for unions to track every dollar of spending so it could one day be publicly disclosed by the Canada Revenue Agency.
The rules were contained in a Conservative private member’s bill passed in June over objections from unions, police associations, the federal privacy commissioner, the Canadian Bar Association and seven provinces who called it unconstitutional and argued it would cost millions for the federal government to enforce.
Bill C-377 required unions to disclose all transactions over $5,000, reveal the details of officers or executives who make over $100,000 to the Canada Revenue Agency, which would publicly post the information to its website.
The law comes into force on Dec. 30, and so unions would have had to track spending starting Dec. 31, with the first batch of public disclosures due to the Canada Revenue Agency by mid-2017.
The waiver effectively removes any worry unions had that they would see their spending, including how much they spend on political activities and social causes, as well as details about contracts with private companies and contractors, make public.
“We feel quite relieved that it’s not going to be necessary and, more importantly, I think those contractors will be quite relieved that they will not be subjected to have their private information now be posted on a public website,” said Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.