University academics comment on Harper's Bill C-377

| November 06, 2012


Several Canadian academics have carried out in-depth analysis of the bill, putting the legislation into an historical perspective.


University of Regina Business Professors

Sean Tucker and Andrew Stevens who are assistant professors in the Faculty of Business Administration at the University of Regina, not known for any left-wing leanings, wrote an editorial in the National Post on the effects that Bill C-377 would have. They warn that the legislation opens the door for governments to require financial disclosure or this nature from other private entities such as Canadian businesses:

Next, interviewees are asked whether they agree with the statement: “It should be mandatory for businesses to publicly disclose detailed financial information on a regular basis.” It’s not hard to imagine the responses and how the result might inform an anti-business agenda and muster public support for business transparency legislation. The passage of C-377 leaves the door open to future legislation that would target businesses for the same purpose — financial transparency. Such a law would undoubtedly have severe economic consequences and would be a target for associations like the CFIB and its members. The law would also be as short-sighted as C-377. Hiebert may have just opened Pandora’s box.

 

York University Labour Law Faculty Dr. David Doorey

Professor David Doorey at York University has done a full round-up of the legislation in a blog post on his website. The analysis is detailed and outlines the bill’s critics and supporters, the vast expanse of issues the bill touches on, how it deviates significantly from similar legislation in the USA, and asks whether the disclosure collects too much information. Here is a brief section:

I have serious doubts about whether the Federal taxing jurisdiction can be stretched so far into the private employment relationship between a union and its employees, since the regulation of employment and labour falls within provincial jurisdiction.  But I’ll leave that one to the division of powers people.  I also wonder this Bill raises Section 2(d) freedom of association issues under the Charter, in that it singles out only one type of association–trade unions–for an extensive array of time-consuming administrative measures.  The ILO is suspicious of over regulation of the activities of unions by governments.

Josh Mandryk, JD candidate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law

Mandryk asks a great question at the beginning of his Toronto Star editorial on Bill C-377 entitled Bill C-377: An invasion of privacy and attack on dissent:

How would you feel if your salary, medical expenses or disability payments were posted on a government website along with your name, address and a description of the reason for the payment?

He then goes on to describe just how this might be a possibility if the bill makes in into law, giving examples of how unions would have to comply with the law.

 

John Logan from San Francisco State University

In this YouTube clip of his testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, Professor Logan from Labour and Employment Relations of San Francisco State University does a comparison of Bill C-377 with some similar laws in the United States.

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