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Bill C-377 - Force unions to open their books

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Bill C-377 - Force unions to open their books

Postby NC » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:06 am

I am late on the uptake here, this was on Monday!

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.

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.
This should be entertaining...
Last edited by NC on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Postby green1 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 5:45 pm

Very interesting indeed... Now it will be interesting to see how people can legitimately present opposition to this bill! Unfortunately private member's bills don't have a good track record of making it through in to law. I'd recommend this is one of those things people should take the time to write to their MP to express their support. Maybe with enough support the government will make this enough of a priority to actually make it law!



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Postby NC » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:50 pm

Yeah, I guess I should put some sort of link to supporting this thing...

Not tonight, now I sleep.


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Postby NC » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:52 pm



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Postby green1 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:04 pm

There are a LOT of people on that poll who said no!

The only reason to say no is if you are a corrupt union official worried what people might find in your books.

It doesn't even matter if you are pro-union or anti-union, shouldn't you be allowed to see where your money goes???



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Postby NC » Fri Oct 07, 2011 10:05 am

Yes, I thought the "no" vote was high but even if it is corrupted by repeated logins, who cares.

I cannot see how this could be considered bad legislation... at any level. I am trying to get the time to make a dent in this but will probably wait until that "first hour of reading" at the end of the month.


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Bill 377 (Bill 317 Redux)

Postby NC » Fri Feb 03, 2012 8:12 am

It's back in a new form - Bill 377

[quote] 1. The Income Tax Act is amended by adding the following after section 149: 149.01
(1) The following definitions apply in section 149 and in this section. “labour organizationâ€


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Postby NC » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:39 pm

I have an RSS feed on this so will try to remember to post these ore diligently.
Russ Heibert
Mr. Speaker, it is my privilege to introduce a bill that would amend the Income Tax Act for labour organizations.

Labour organizations play a valuable role in society, representing and defending the rights of workers to health and safety on the job and ensuring that they have proper compensation for the work they do. As a result of the valuable role that they play, our government has provided substantial benefits through the Income Tax Act to support the work of labour organizations.

This bill would amend the Income Tax Act to require the public disclosure of labour organization finances. Public disclosure will help the public better understand how the benefits that are provided are being utilized.
This is in line with the increased transparency we have introduced for government departments, agencies and native reserves. It is also in line with the public disclosure required of charities and political parties, which also receive substantial public benefits through the tax system.

I want to note that public disclosure is strongly supported by the Canadian public and by union workers themselves.
Last edited by NC on Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:22 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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Postby NC » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:42 pm

[quote]Russ Heibert
Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to speak to my Bill C-377.

Labour organizations play a valuable role in Canadian society, representing and defending the rights of workers.

Four million, three hundred thousand Canadians are currently union members, and millions more have been during their working lives.

There are thousands of Canadians in my riding of South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, British Columbia, who pay dues to labour organizations. Because of the valuable role unions play in the lives of many Canadians, our federal tax system has provided benefits to support the work of unions. Key among those benefits are a 100% tax deductibility for the union dues that workers pay and tax exempt status for the labour organizations themselves.

I would like to put the value of the dues deductibility into perspective. The federal government forgoes $795 million in tax revenue each year for union and professional dues. The majority of this amount is claimed by union members, probably in the range of $400 million to $500 million. This is a substantial public benefit. I believe it is only right for the public to know how that money is being spent. Therefore, my bill would require the public disclosure of the finances of labour organizations.

This measure is in line with the greater transparency that we are demanding from government departments, public agencies and native reserves. It is in line with the public disclosure required of other Canadian institutions that benefit from significant public funding.

For instance, public disclosure has been required for Canadian charities since 1977. The filings of charities are easy to find on the Canada Revenue Agency website.

I have based my requirements for public disclosure for labour organizations on the long existing provisions for charities in the Income Tax Act. With the passage of the bill, the public would be empowered to gauge the effectiveness, financial integrity and health of any labour union. This is something that Canadians want. According to a Nanos poll taken on Labour Day of last year, 83% of Canadians and 86% of union members want public financial disclosure for unions.

I would like to take a couple of minutes to run through the various provisions in the bill.

Clause 1 is the heart of the bill and can be considered in three parts.

First, there are three new definitions that would give greater clarity to terms already used or proposed in the bill. They are “labour organizationsâ€
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Postby NC » Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:48 pm

[quote]Joe Comartin (NDP; February 6th)
Mr. Speaker, in spite of the protest of innocence by the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale, let there be no doubt at all that this is a frontal attack on the labour movement in this country. It is also an indirect but very clear attack on a number of other rights that Canadian citizens and residents have in this country: the right of association; the right, quite frankly, to privacy; and the right to freedom of speech within the right of association. The bill undermines all of those rights, if not completely doing away with them in some cases.

To stand in this House, as the member for South Surrey—White Rock—Cloverdale just has, to say this is all about accountability and transparency and not about ideology is totally false.

Let us understand the context of the bill. The Bush Republicans did the same thing in the United States. However, they did not go nearly as far as the bill before us does. I have two quotes on the ideology, strategy and tactics behind this. The first is by Newt Gingrich, one of the leading members of the ideological right in the United States, who said that requiring detailed disclosure on union advocacy activities would “weaken our opponents and encourage our alliesâ€
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Postby NC » Wed Mar 21, 2012 10:33 am

Now it's getting FUN!!!

Out East at the centre of the universe, the political race for power included a guy called Tim Hudak, he was the Conservative leader in the Ontario race for Premier. He was defeated, and there was a lot of very expensive negative advertising by a group call the Working Families Coalition. The conservatives hired their own very expensive media relations team called "Crestview", owned bythree guys (go look now `cause I bet their business model will change veryy soon...). Anyway, Hudak lost by a considerable margin. Crestview had failed him, and the Conservatives of Ontario.

Now, back to Bill 377, it passed and is into second reading (woot woot!!) but the path just got a lot harder. The Canadian arm of the American Federation of Labour (AFL) AFL-CIO and the Canadian Building and Construction Trade Council just hired a very expensive media relations team to fight against Bill 377. Apart from the fact that they are using member’s dues money to fight a party some union members may support… guess who they hired? Yup, Crestview (I told you, you should go look now).

I expect Crestview’s name will now fade to obscurity and will, in so doing, drag the names of its Principal’s down to the depths from which they came. Not that I am a great supporter of the Ontario Conservatives, and to be honest I don’t really have an opinion, but I find it galling that a union, or coalition of unions will spend what is likely to be millions of union dues dollars hiring a very obviously mercenarily, capitalist group to defeat a piece of legislation that I am *certain* the majority of union members would like to see passed – open financial disclosure for unions.

Lot’s of news on the topic:

Tory lobbying firm linked to Working Families
A bit of video: Radical Unions

Sorry, funny side bar… the two Canadian guys who own Crestview have ironic content in their bios:

Robert Silver: Robert was recently named as one of 2010′s international political “rising starsâ€


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Re: Bill 377 - Force unions to open their books

Postby NC » Wed May 02, 2012 11:22 am

Not really related but close enough.

If you have a copy of your union's financials, email them to me please. I want to post some union financials so that we can get an idea of what we are talking about.

I will not say who sent them, and will not post anything identifyable... I want to see if we get any from out there in the "reader-land". Way more people read here than post here, so send what you got.

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Re: Bill 377 - Force unions to open their books

Postby NC » Wed May 02, 2012 3:32 pm

Let's blow the dust off of an oldie... TWU Financials


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Re: Bill 377 - Force unions to open their books

Postby NC » Wed May 02, 2012 3:55 pm

Since we're here now, this is what unions in the states have to report... Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)

Here's a link from that site that I like: Download Yearly Data- download raw data in pipe delimited format of union and financial information as reported for public disclosure under provisions of the LMRDA.

Why does Canada not have this sort of thing? Why is it that when it is suggested, lick-spittle union bought reporters tell us that the governemnt is lieing about fighter jets <smoke> and they are going to be asking us for our personal private information next <mirrors> honking: "The Tories are targeting unions, who's next?". We should be able to see this stuff, it's available for unions all over the globe, why is Canada the only place with lieing government that will steal our informaiton and buy fighter jets with it?
And, if unions can be subjected to these reporting rules, why not other organizations that run afoul of the government? Why not a church, a symphony, a soccer club or a small business?
Gus... churches?!?! soccer clubs??!?! are you insane or just stupid... they are VOLUNTARY, unions are not - and THEY PAY TAXES - unions do not.

Here's the kicker... Gus says that small businesses should watch out too, because they might be next... what, to have to report financies and pay taxes??? really!!!, oh no!!

Gus, take a look at the financials I posted here... and will continue to post, do these look like there may be problems?

Gus, P.Y.H.O.O.Y.A. and think about what unions are doing with the billions they take in, it should be reported, like everywhere else in the world.


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Re: Bill 377 - Force unions to open their books

Postby NC » Tue May 22, 2012 10:43 am

So, here's a piece from the Vancouver Sun that shows why Bill C-377 is so important.

Montreal students are defying the law and terrorizing the country and unions are helping to fund it. If the citizens of Canada were allowed to see union financials this would not happen, but we cannot see how unions spend the dues oney of their members.

This is not about "political spending" this is about an illegal act that is going to be funded by union dues with tax free dollars and though we know it, we cannot prove it (See the blue text I formatted below) . THAT is why unions want to keep Bill C-377 from passing.
Leaders vow to defy new law
MONTREAL — Quebec’s largest student group has vowed to defy the Quebec government’s new emergency law, calling for a summer of protests and acts of civil disobedience. The C. L. A. S. S. E., the more radical of the province’s three main student associations, declared Monday it would continue to encourage protests even if it meant it would lead to harsh financial penalties under the province’s Bill 78.

“The law won’t kill the student movement,” representative Gabrielle Nadeau- Dubois said at a news conference. “The fundamental rights under threat today need to be defended.”

The group called for protests at least until classes, which were suspended under the legislation, resume in August. It also launched an appeal for financial assistance for a legal challenge against Bill 78 and to help pay for any fines incurred under the new legislation.

While a recent poll suggested the majority of Quebecers were in favour of the law, the government continues to face stiff opposition from those who argue it’s an affront on civil liberties.

A massive demonstration is planned for today to mark 100 days since the first group of students walked out of class. A coalition of 140 community groups and unions encouraged people to join the demonstration to denounce the tuition increases and the legislation.

“We decided this year the tuition increases should be a priority,” the coalition’s Veronique Laflamme said in an interview. “But now, with the introduction of Bill 78, we find it even more important to participate in the protests.”

Meanwhile, the international hacker group Anonymous hacked into the Quebec government public security’s website, the latest in a series of apparent cyber attacks against the province. A post on the hacked web page warned the government to be fearful of the group. “We don’t forgive,” the post said. “We don’t forget.”

Tensions were high during the nightly protests over the weekend after the bill was passed Friday. More than 300 people were arrested on Sunday night and at least 20 were injured, including 11 police officers, although none seriously.

Bill 78 lays out regulations for demonstrations over 50 people, including giving eight hours’ notice for a protest itinerary. Individual organizers and student groups could face stiff fines if they don’t comply. The C.L. A. S. S. E. said it had no plans to do so.

Penalties range from $ 7,000$ 35,000 for a student leader and $ 25,000 - $ 125,000 for unions or student federations. In addition, the legislation provides for fines for any person who prevents someone from entering an educational institution. The law put the current academic session on hold until August for striking students, which form less than one- third of Quebec post- secondary students.


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