RCMP welcomes bill that opens door to collective bargaining
Sonja Puzic, CTVNews.ca
Published Monday, March 14, 2016 12:10PM EDT
Last Updated Monday, March 14, 2016 2:05PM EDT
Members of the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada say they are “pleased” that newly introduced legislation will allow RCMP officers to engage in collective bargaining, but they will be seeking amendments to the bill.
Last week, the Liberal government tabled a bill to create a new labour relations regime for RCMP members and reservists. The legislation allows for collective bargaining and independent, binding arbitration to resolve disputes, but with no right to strike.
The bill was introduced in response to a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada last year, which affirmed the right of RCMP officers to collective bargaining.
The SCC did not explicitly state that Mounties have the right to form a union, but the ruling appears to have cleared the way for that.
Currently, RCMP officers have voluntary associations funded by members, which work with management to establish pay and benefits. However, top management has the final say.
The SCC gave the government a year to create a new labour-relations regime for the Mounties.
“I’m very pleased to see that the government is bringing positive change,” Rae Banwarie, president of the Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, told reporters in Ottawa on Monday.
Speaking on behalf of MPAC, Ottawa lawyer Benjamin Piper said the Mounties are pleased to see that the bill includes binding arbitration.
However, Piper said that MPAC will be “advocating for changes” when it comes to certain parts of the bill during the committee process.
As it stands now, the legislation does not allow a number of issues to be included in the collective bargaining process. That includes discipline, staffing and protecting RCMP members from harassment, Piper said.