The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence
Senate amendments give Mounties strong bargaining power
June 9, 2017
Ottawa – Members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) will be able to engage in a fair and robust collective bargaining process with their employer thanks to Senate amendments to a flawed government bill that is now set to receive Royal Assent.
Members of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence amended Bill C-7, An Act to Amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, after concerns that the bill would prevent RCMP members from bargaining anything aside from pay and benefits.
Under the terms of the original bill, RCMP officers would have been unable to bargain on issues like transfers, discharges or demotions, pension, conduct including harassment, uniform and equipment. These exclusions would have been unique to the RCMP — no other Canadian police forces are subject to these exemptions.
The amended bill gives the men and women who serve in the RCMP strong collective bargaining rights and the ability to stand up to management about working conditions and safety concerns that are affecting morale.
- In the 2015 case Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General), the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that RCMP officers have a right to “meaningful collective bargaining.” The court found “no evidence” that providing RCMP officers with a labour relations scheme similar to other police services would prevent it from fulfilling its mandate.
- During committee hearings, RCMP members expressed concerns for their safety like light uniform colours and a lack of effective weaponry; under the amended bill they will be allowed to address these concerns at the bargaining table.
- RCMP members also expressed a lack of confidence in their body armour, which in many cases is 25 years old.
“I am pleased that after urging the Senate on three separate occasions to not amend the bill, the government has accepted the significant changes related to bargaining rights as proposed by members of the committee and the Senate. With these changes, the hard-working women and men in the RCMP will be in a better bargaining position to negotiate improved labour conditions as well as fairer wages.”
- Senator Daniel Lang, Chair of the committee.
“RCMP members won a court battle, but it took our committee’s amendments to fix a bill that was unresponsive to the court’s decision. Critically, the original bill excluded harassment and sexual harassment — despite a 2013 report that found a culture of harassment was rampant. An RCMP union should be able to address this problem with management.”
- Senator Mobina Jaffer, Deputy Chair of the committee.
- Track Bill C-7’s progress through Parliament and read the committee’s amendments.
- Follow the committee on social media using the hashtag #SECD.
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