Lawyers comment on Harper's Bill C-377

The Canadian Bar Association has responded to Bill C-377 calling into question the constitutionality of the proposed legislation.

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Canadian Bar Association

The Canadian Bar Association, the Canada’s professional association for lawyers, submitted an analysis of what Bill C-377 would mean legally if it was implemented. Their submission explains their concerns under the subheadings of Privacy Concerns, Costs, Constitutional Concerns, and Impact on Pension and Benefit Plans.

The association, which obviously is not known for exaggeration of any kind, stated that “… the legislation appears overbroad.”, that it “… interferes with the internal administration and operations of a union, which the constitutionally protected freedom of association precludes…” and that “… it obliges disclosure of personal information which is normally considered among the most sensitive - financial information and information about political activities or political beliefs.”

Their full letter can be found here in PDF format.

Koskie Minsky LLP

Michael Mazzuca of the law firm Koskie Minsky appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance on October 25 (video) representing the Canadian Bar Association to outline some of the legal communities concerns about the bill.

Koskie Minsky LLP also issued a brief analysis of the bill in their fall 2012 pensions and benefits report (PDF).

Canadian Lawyer Magazine

In an article entitled The legal side of the union dues disclosure dispute, Judy Van Rhijn outlines what the legal community’s opinion is of Bill C-377.

Federal Privacy Commissioner

Federal Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddard has also testified that Bill C-377 raises serious privacy concerns.

Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers

CALL has put out a memorandum to its membership that outlines some of the Labour Lawyer communities’ concerns with Bill C-377. See here for an extract:

/The Bill contains a great number of provisions aimed at weakening unions and making information available to employers and others who may seek to take advantage of what ought to be confidential information, including disbursements on labour relations, political, lobbying, organizing, collective bargaining, education and training activities   Most importantly to CALL, the Bill also demands disclosure of statement of disbursement on legal activities. This of course strikes to the heart of solicitor client privilege and confidentiality. /

Eckler Ltd., Trusteed Plans Group and Pensions and Benefit Research

D. Cameron Hunter and Karen DeBortoli of Eckler Ltd. have an article in Plans and Trusts entitled Privacy Risks Within Bill C-377. In the article, the two veteran pensions experts outline the negative impacts the bill would have if brought into law.

BrazeauSeller LLP

Colin Green, and associate at BrazeauSeller.LLP has outlined his analysis of the impacts of Bill C-377 on solicitor-client privilege in an article entitle The Riddle of Bill C-377 and Solicitor-Client Privilege in the Ottawa Business Journal.