Bill C-377 is a private member’s bill introduced by my Conservative colleague Russ Hiebert, MP for South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale. It requires public financial disclosure for labour organizations.
Labour organizations play a valuable role in Canadian society, promoting workplace health and safety, and good compensation for Canadian workers. Our Conservative government supports the valuable role labour organizations perform by providing several hundred-million dollars in benefits through the tax system, annually.
The premise behind bill C-377 is that the public has a right to know how the substantial benefits it provides to labour organizations are being used.
Public disclosure will create greater support for the valuable work that labour organizations do as the public learns how the benefits they provide are being used.
Public disclosure by organizations receiving substantial public benefits is not a new concept. In fact, Canadian charities have been publicly reporting their spending for the last 35 years.
And, as with charities, any cost to government or unions of these new reporting requirements will be kept minimal through the use of a standardized system of electronic filing and posting.
A good example is the recent Election Canada investigation into illegal union contributions to the NDP totalling more than $340,000.
It is important for union brotherhood members to know where their dues are going and that all transactions are legal.
Full disclosure will ensure that the membership will have an open, transparent and accountable reporting system for regulators and membership to scrutinize.
Public disclosure is important to the government of Canada as we seek to make certain taxpayer dollars and tax filings are accurate.
Your government has provided this scrutiny for charities, First Nations, and government programs. This bill will require the unions open their accounts to public and membership review.