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December 13, 2012

Bill C-377 gets passed in the House of Commons, faces Senate next

Bill C-377, a private member’s bill brought forward by Conservative MP Russ Hiebert was passed in the House of Commons yesterday by a vote of 147 to 135.

The bill will require unions and other labour groups in Canada to disclose annual reports on spending, salaries and other political activities.

The news of the bill getting passed was received well by Merit Canada, an advocacy group for provincial Open Shop construction associations.

“The support of the House of Commons for union transparency is warmly welcomed by Merit Canada and all working Canadians. It is recognition that union leaders are obliged to be accountable for very generous benefits provided at public expense,” said Terrance Oakey, President of Merit Canada, in a statement. “Transparency and accountability are fundamental to democracy. If unions want to enjoy the dual benefits of mandatory dues collection and beneficial tax treatment, then they need to earn it.”

The bill was amended to address privacy concerns. The Canadian Building Trades were disappointed with the amendments, calling them inadequate to skilled trade members across the country. The Building Trades have indicated they will not stop their campaign against the bill even though it has passed.

Merit Canada is not alone in their support, with 83 per cent of Canadians and 86 per cent of union members backing the bill, according to a 2011 poll by Nanos Research.

C-377 will now have to be passed by the Senate.

According to Canada Revenue, the new systems needed for the bill won’t be ready until 2015.

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