CLC submission regarding Bill C-377 “An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act”

Introduction

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is the national voice of 3.3
million workers in Canada. The CLC brings together Canada’s
national and international unions along with the provincial and
territorial federations of labour and 130 district labour councils
whose members work in virtually all sectors of the Canadian
economy, in all occupations, and in all parts of Canada.

In the opinion of the CLC, Bill C-377 infringes Canadians’ freedom
of association and is contrary to Section 2(d) of the Canadian
Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The bill intrudes into provincial
jurisdiction with respect to the regulation of labour relations and
unions and is ultra vires. Bill C-377 contravenes federal and
provincial privacy legislation, and singles out and discriminates
against unions compared to other organizations similarly treated in
the Income Tax Act. Finally, it will impose significant,
unnecessary and unwarranted costs on the government and labour
organizations.

In the words of Senator Hugh Segal, Bill C-377 is “an expression of
statutory contempt for the working men and women in our trade
unions and for the trade unions themselves and their right under
federal and provincial law to organize.” There is no demonstrable
rationale for Bill C-377, and arguments used to justify the bill
are feeble at best. In fact, there is only one underlying reason
for this bill: to single out, interfere with, and weaken unions.
The Congress believes C-377 is an unwarranted, unconstitutional,
venal and indefensible bill that is inherently flawed and must be
withdrawn.

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