Liberals’ hasty adoption of Bill C-7 harms our freedom of association and could block our attempts to unionize Quebec RCMP officers
MONTREAL, May 26, 2017 – The association representing Quebec’s 900 frontline RCMP members is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put a stop to the adoption process of Bill C-7, and allow Quebec’s members to move forward with their bid to unionize under one separate negotiating unit that recognizes the distinct rights of RCMP officers in the province — rights that are justified by the members’ geographical, functional, administrative and linguistic characteristics.
Bill C-7 stipulates that only one Canadian bargaining unit will be accepted for the purpose of unionization of RCMP members. While the Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association filed a request April 5 to unionize on behalf of its Quebec members, the National Police Federation (NPF) filed its own application two weeks later on behalf of all RCMP members in Canada. By including the province of Quebec in its application for certification, the NPF essentially opposed the Quebec RCMP association’s bid to unionize.
Bill C-7 provides for a retroactivity provision, which would invalidate the Quebec RCMP association’s application for certification.
In a letter sent yesterday to Trudeau, as well as to all MPs and members of the Senate, Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association President Serge Bilodeau called on the prime minister to allow the Quebec RCMP association’s union bid to move ahead, separately from the request made by the NPF. Bilodeau said it was up to Ottawa’s Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board to determine if the Quebec RCMP association is a viable bargaining unit according to the criteria normally applied to labour relations.
“The adoption of Bill C-7 has the effect of silencing the RCMP members based in Quebec, the only division with French as its primary working language, in their efforts to have recognized, through a certification procedure, their right to be part of an association empowered to advocate for their specific claims,” states Bilodeau in his three page letter.
“C-7 allows the government to decide and impose its own vision of what constitutes an appropriate bargaining unit within the RCMP, which is obviously a strike to the rights of the RCMP members to associate and be recognized as a representative association based on distinctions and characteristics of their own,” he added. “There is no doubt that this issue deserves a thorough and transparent debate before a neutral court, where all parties will have an opportunity to be heard.”
“The object is to ensure that we can assert the right to join an association of our choice in accordance with the Canadian policy of multiculturalism and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Bilodeau.
The Liberal government’s rejection of Senate amendments to Bill C-7 will limit RCMP members’ rights to negotiate freely on matters of pension and changes that need to be made to the RCMP’s organizational structure — modifications that were outlined in a critical report released last week. The adoption of Bill C-7 will also limit the powers of the Arbitration Board in the event of a disagreement between RCMP members and management, guaranteeing extended and undefined managerial powers back to the RCMP Commissioner.
Media Relations Officer
Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association