Bill C-317 was Tabled: This enactment amends the Income Tax Act to require that labour organizations provide financial information to the Minister for public disclosure.
This should be entertaining...Labour Organization Financial Information for Canadians
Private Members Bill (PMB) Bill C-317 was placed on the Notice Paper in the Federal House of Commons on September 29th, 2011, tabled in the House on October 3rd sponsored by the MP Russ Hiebert who represents South Surrey - White Rock - Cloverdale. It will likely received first hour of debate by late October. The purpose of this section of our website is to provide relevant factual information about this important public policy topic.
Today, in Canada, tax exempt labour organizations, including unions, are not required to make public their financial affairs.
The Bill extends the principle of charities publically reporting financial information (to the Minister of National Revenue) to a group of institutions that also enjoy substantial public benefits - labour organizations (including unions).
Labour organizations are exempt from taxation. Unionized Canadians who pay dues deduct those dues from their taxable income. Strike pay is also not taxable income. Unions transfer dues to provincial Federations of Labour and other umbrella labour organizations.
The Federal Finance Department's 2010 estimate for the union dues deduction represents hundreds of millions in foregone tax revenue on billions of dollars in dues and investment income because dues are 100% deductible from Federal taxable income. Labour Organization investment income is not taxed federally. Provinces may have different approaches to the tax treatment of dues, investment income and other types of revenue.
The basic premise of this Bill is that every labour organization in Canada will file a standard set of financials each year, which will then be made available to Canadians on a public website, likely similar to the current Charities Directorate website
This Bill will allow all Canadians to see how tax deductible monies are being spent by these tax exempt organizations.
With the financial information the Bill will require, the public will be empowered to better gauge the effectiveness, financial integrity and health of Canada's taxation system as it relates to the privileges granted to labour organizations (including unions). Unionized workers who pay dues will be able to do the same.
This legislation is good for unionized Canadians by enabling them to see how their dues are spent.
Former union leaders, who have asked to remain anonymous, have made allegations to us of financial irregularities in unions that they worked with.
The public is always better served by increased transparency and accountability and the Bill extends that principle to labour organizations.
Nanos Research State of the Unions 2011 survey recently found that 83% of working Canadians support financial disclosure for public and private sector unions.
It is very striking that 86% of unionized Canadians support public financial disclosure.