1975 Legislative Session: 5th Session, 30th Parliament
The following electronic version is for informational purposes
The printed version remains the official version.
THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 1975
[ Page 4029 ]
Human Rights Code of British Columbia Amendment Act (Bill 145).
Mr. D.A. Anderson. Introduction and first reading — 4029
Accuracy of statements made by Minister of Human Resources re incentive programme. Mr. D.A. Anderson — 4029
Cancellation of rental housing council grant. Mr. Phillips — 4030
Application by Mrs. Bremer for teaching position. Mr. Wallace — 4030
Bedrock credit cards. Mr. Curtis — 4031
Bargaining zones for teachers. Mr. Gibson — 4031
Railroad concession at Fort Steele. Hon. Mr. Hall answers — 4031
Advertisement on mailing of social assistance cheques, Mr. McGeer — 4032
Indian blockade on BCR. Mr. Fraser — 4032
BCR annual report. Hon. Mr. Nunweiler answers — 4032
Income assurance for egg producers. Mrs. Jordan — 4032
Municipal Amendment Act, 1975 (Bill 103). Third reading — 4033
Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1975 (Bill 84). Committee stage.
On section 1.
Mr. D.A. Anderson — 4033
Amendment to section 3.
Hon. Mr. King — 4038
On section 3 as amended.
Mr. Smith — 4038
Amendment to section 3 as amended.
Mr. Wallace — 4039
Amendment to section 3 as amended.
Mr. Wallace — 4042
On section 3 as amended.
Mr. Gibson — 4043
Division on section 3 as amended — 4044
On section 4.
Mr. Gibson — 4045
On section 6.
Mr. Gabelmann — 4046
On section 7.
Mr. Wallace — 4047
Amendment to section 7.
Mr. Wallace — 4047
On section 7.
Mr. L.A. Williams — 4048
Amendment to section 8.
Hon. Mr. King — 4051
On section 8 as amended.
Mr. Steves — 4053
Amendment to section 8 as amended.
Mr. Wallace — 4054
On section 8 as amended.
Mr. Wallace — 4055
Amendment to section 9.
Hon. Mr. King — 4056
Amendment to section 10.
Hon. Mr. King — 4056
Amendment to section 11.
Hon. Mr. King — 4056
Amendment to section 12.
Hon. Mr. King — 4056
On section 12 as amended.
Mr. Gabelmann — 4056
Amendment to section 13.
Hon. Mr. King — 4059
Amendment to section 14.
Hon. Mr. King — 4059
On section 14 as amended.
Mr. Gibson — 4059
Amendment to section 21.
Hon. Mr. King — 4060
Amendment to section 22.
Hon. Mr. King — 4060
Amendment to section 26.
Hon. Mr. King — 4060
Amendment to section 27.
Hon. Mr. King — 4060
Amendment to section 31.
Hon. Mr. King — 4060
Amendment to section 32.
Hon. Mr. King — 4060
On section 33.
Mr. Gibson — 4060
Report and third reading — 4061
Miscellaneous Statutes Amendment Act, 1975 (Bill 142). Committee stage.
On section 11. Mr. McClelland — 4061
Emergency Programme Act (Bill 61).
Order for second reading discharged — 4062
Appendix — 4062
THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 1975
The House met at 2 p.m.
HON. W.S. KING (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, I would ask the House to join me today in extending a very, very warm welcome to Dr. Peter Umland, the consul-general of the Federal Republic of Germany, who is now located in his Vancouver office. I would ask the House to extend a warm welcome to him.
Introduction of bills.
HUMAN RIGHTS CODE OF BRITISH
COLUMBIA AMENDMENT ACT
On a motion by Mr. D.A. Anderson, Bill 145, Human Rights Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, introduced, read a first time and ordered to be placed on orders of the day for second reading at the next sitting of the House after today.
Hon. Mr. Hall presents the final report on Family and Children's Law with the seventh report, on Family Maintenance, the 10th report, on Native Families and the Law and the 13th report, which is The Commission and the Community.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): Mr. Speaker, on a point of privilege, yesterday in answer to a question from me about a change in his department's incentive programme, the Minister of Human Resources (Hon. Mr. Levi) stated — and I'm quoting here from the Blues: "What we have done is to reassert the fact that there was always a six-month limit and it could be renewed based on recommendations." He then added: "There's no change in policy. It's not a change in policy."
Now, Mr. Speaker, I checked the information I had and I discovered — and you will appreciate my concern — that there are documents which seem to contradict the Minister's statement.
I have in my hand three documents. The first is serial letter number 551/445, issued by the Minister's department on May 6, 1975. It's headed: "Social allowances: earnings, exemptions and incentive allowances."
It begins: "The Hon. Norman Levi, Minister of the Department of Human Resources, has authorized the following policy changes, effective immediately…" And if that was not clear enough, on page 3, section 10 of the document, we find the phrase: "Allowances may be granted for a maximum…" and on it goes.
In addition is the circular from the Department of Human Resources field service, dated June 2, 1975. It's addressed to all organizations hiring incentive workers, and it goes on to say that as of June 1, 1975, all incentive workers can be authorized up to six months only, and that a further extension of six months may be authorized by the district supervisor if — and it is underlined — the recipient is definitely preparing for employment or a mutually-agreed upon self-improvement programme.
Now in the first document I mentioned, it says that it replaces serial letter 502/407 of March 1, 1973, which is the third document I have here, Mr. Speaker. On page 2 we find the following statement: "2(a). The length-of-opportunities allowance payment will be made on the basis of a plan established between the social worker and the opportunities-allowance recipient." No indication here of the cut-off date.
MR. SPEAKER: Well, I take it the Hon. Member is raising this to, in effect, contradict the information which has been supplied. But I point out that there's nothing in what he said that indicates that there was any knowing or deliberate misleading that I can see in what he's saying. Obviously, there's a difference of opinion on this.
If the Hon. Member wished to make a motion of some kind, under a motion of privilege, he would have to do so. I'd suggest that possibly he wants some further answer from the Minister on this question, and it could properly be done during question period.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, that certainly is one course, Mr. Speaker, but you have often said that Ministers need not reply. But when they do reply, I think it's important that they make sure the facts are correct. Therefore, Mr. Speaker, it is rather pointless to put a motion on, or anything of that nature. I will accept your suggestion and have the Minister make a clarification today, or ask the Minister to make a clarification in question period.
MR. SPEAKER: I think there's another problem we have under the rules, and which should be borne in mind. In question period, though, we have the other problem — that it must not impugn the accuracy of information conveyed by a Minister to the House. But I would assume that there's been an error on the part of either the Minister or the information that is at hand. Now one or the other may exist or it may be well cleared up by a simple statement by the Minister on the question, if he's prepared to inform the House or inform the Hon. Member. But I don't think that it really calls for a matter of privilege when you get this type of problem.
[ Page 4030 ]
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Well, the problem is that we have to accurately inform our constituents. In following your suggestion, Mr. Speaker, perhaps at this time the Minister would make a statement clarifying what the true policy is so that we would not have this time taken out of question period.
MR. SPEAKER: It would be more desirable than during question period, which would really be a violation of question period to do it then, too, I'm afraid.
HON. E. HALL (Provincial Secretary): Well, what kind of precedent are we setting right now?
MR. SPEAKER: I don't know what the question is. Are you asking the Hon. Minister to clear up what he has said, or to clear up the information you've received?
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Mr. Speaker, the information that has gone out, over the name of the Minister, stating that there are policy changes, totally contradicts what he said in the House where he said that there are no policy changes. I wonder whether he could straighten the matter out. Have there been policy changes in this area or not?
MR. SPEAKER: Well, it's entirely up to the House. I have no motion in front of me and I presume we shall just have to go ahead with the question period unless somebody seeks the floor.
RENTAL HOUSING COUNCIL GRANT
MR. D.M. PHILLIPS (South Peace River): Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Minister of Agriculture a question, but he's not in the House. I wanted to ask the Minister of Housing (Hon. Mr. Nicolson) a question, but he's….
MR. SPEAKER: The Hon. Minister of Agriculture is here.
MR. PHILLIPS: Oh, there he is. Oh, thank you very much.
Would the Minister advise me if he found an answer to my question?
HON. D.D. STUPICH (Minister of Agriculture): Mr. Speaker, we have tried to meet with Treasury, but haven't been able to do so yet. The Treasury did meet this morning and will be meeting again this afternoon.
APPLICATION BY MRS. BREMER
FOR TEACHING POSITION
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): Mr. Speaker, I'd like to ask the Minister of Education regarding an inquiry which I have received from a constituent in Oak Bay, Mrs. Ann Bremer, the wife of John Bremer, with respect to her application for a teaching appointment with the Sooke school district. Inasmuch as she was fully qualified for the post, and the fact that the supervisor for special services recommended her appointment to the superintendent of education, can the Minister tell the House if she or any of her departmental staff were consulted about Mrs. Bremer's application?
HON. E.E. DAILLY (Minister of Education): Mr. Speaker, to the Hon. Member: neither I nor my staff was even aware that Mrs. Bremer had applied for a job. Secondly, it is entirely up to a school board to make their decision on the hiring of teachers. Any implication that the department would interfere in that, I think, is something that should be made quite clear from here: this is never done.
MR. WALLACE: A supplementary, Mr. Speaker. I appreciate the Minister's answer, but the fact is that Mrs. Bremer has been given differing explanations by different levels of authority in the system for the rejection of her application. Regardless of the Minister's rightful respect for autonomy, the fact is that justice really must be seem to be done.
I wonder if, under the circumstances, the Minister would consider carrying out an inquiry into the circumstances of her rejected application since there does seem to be a possibility that her human rights have been denied because she happens to be the wife of John Bremer.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: Mr. Speaker, there are hundreds of teachers who apply for jobs — thousands, in this province. Surely you don't expect the Minister of Education to hold an inquiry for every teacher who makes an application and does not get hired by a school board. It is entirely up to the school board to make their decision. Any concern from Mrs. Bremer relative to not being hired by the board should be taken up with the school board.
MR. WALLACE: A final supplementary, Mr. Speaker.
MR. SPEAKER: I think it is obviously not within the jurisdiction of the Minister from what the Hon. Minister said in answering the question.
MR. WALLACE: I am asking about human rights, Mr. Speaker, I am not just confining this to the
[ Page 4031 ]
question of education.
MR. SPEAKER: I think human rights comes under the Minister of Labour.
MR. WALLACE: Well, could I ask the Minister of Labour that since there are examples of individuals in this province who have been unable to find employment because of previous disagreements with the Department of Education, has the Minister of Labour made any decisions about measures that could be taken to protect the human rights of spouses with particular reference to their obtaining future employment when their partner has had this problem?
HON. W.S. KING (Minister of Labour): Mr. Speaker, I would suggest to the Hon. Member that if he has knowledge of anyone's rights being abridged in any way through discrimination, he should most certainly place those facts before the director of the Human Rights branch and they will certainly be investigated as to their validity.
If there is a case to be made, a board of inquiry would be assembled and remedial action would be ordered, including the possibility of damages if in fact anyone's rights have been abridged.
But I think anyone who comes up with the kinds of inferences and suggestions contained in what I understood from the Member should certainly be prepared to lay those facts and that evidence on the table and, as a responsible Member of this House, proceed with some charges.
BEDROCK CREDIT CARDS
MR. H.A. CURTIS (Saanich and the Islands): To the Hon. Minister of Consumer Services, who was quite helpful last week with regard to an unusual kind of negative credit card operated under the name Bedrock Business Services.
MR. SPEAKER: What?
MR. CURTIS: I didn't select the name, Mr. Speaker. (Laughter.) At that time, the Minister indicated that the matter was under review by her department. I wonder if she could tell the House now if that review is completed and secondly, if it is felt by her or her department that some consumers may have been misled by this particular service.
HON. P.F. YOUNG (Minister of Consumer Services): Yes, Mr. Speaker, my department completed their investigation. They found that in fact the company was not breaking any provincial law in the distribution of these cards. However, it was our considered opinion that the cards are valueless.
If somebody wants to spend $5 for a card that says to the merchant, "I'll negotiate the rates with you that you would otherwise pay to a credit card company," a person can do that verbally. He doesn't need a card. He doesn't need to pay $5 for a card to do it.
Estimating that you could negotiate, say, a 4 per cent reduction or something like that, you would have to spend $100 in order to get the return on your investment of $5 for the card.
I think it was perhaps a squirrelly idea in the beginning. (Laughter.)
MR. CURTIS: A supplementary to the Minister. Has her department or has the Minister herself attempted to contact the two individuals who have put their names to this operation in an attempt to "discourage" them from this activity?
HON. MS. YOUNG: On the contrary, Mr. Speaker, they contacted my department. They wanted the endorsement of the department. Quite appropriately, we refused to give them any such endorsement. I think that indicates the view that the department holds on this matter.
BARGAINING ZONES FOR TEACHERS
MR. G.F. GIBSON (North Vancouver–Capilano): Mr. Speaker, a question to the Minister of Education. Pursuant to the legislation passed earlier this spring, has the Minister as yet entered into any consultations with the BCTF or the BCSTA with respect to the establishment of bargaining zones?
HON. MRS. DAILLY: Both parties have been asked to meet separately and draw up some of their own suggestions. Then I will be meeting with them about the middle of July.
RAILROAD CONCESSION AT FORT STEELE
HON. E. HALL (Provincial Secretary): Mr. Speaker, the Member for Columbia River (Mr. Chabot) asked me why the concessionaire or qualified steam engineer who has operated the railroad concession at Fort Steele for the last six years has been replaced by a Victoria resident after having been advised last year that the concession would be put up for tender this year.
I replied that the concessionaire who operated the railroad concession at Fort Steele until 1974 indicated he would not be back for the '74 season. Consequently, it was advertised by the Parks department and a new person was selected. The tender for the concession was not advertised each year if the service was satisfactory, and the new concessionaire gave very satisfactory service in '74.
[ Page 4032 ]
That elicited my question, almost to myself, supported by the Member, that we should really look into the question as to whether the old concessionaire prior to '74 was advised it would be up for tender.
My investigations have been concluded enough, so after that carefully checking with those concerned in the parks department I'm told that Mr. McTavish, who had the railroad concession up to the year mentioned, was informed that the concession to operate the railroad has been awarded to the Victoria resident, and that the performance of operation would be reviewed at the season's end as to whether the permit should be renewed or re-advertised.
I think that probably a misunderstanding has arisen around that meeting. It was found, after a season's probation, that the operation was most satisfactory and the permit was not re-advertised. This is the usual procedure.
Mr. Speaker, in view of the point in time this session is at, if the Member has any further information he wants to give me regarding Mr. McTavish's position, I would be pleased to engage in correspondence with him. That's the compilation of my investigation, and that concludes all the questions I had taken as notice, save the one on the Capital Improvement District Commission for the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace).
ADVERTISEMENT ON MAILING OF
SOCIAL ASSISTANCE CHEQUES
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): This is concerning an advertisement that appeared in the Vancouver papers earlier this week from the Vancouver Resources Board, about the mailing of social assistance cheques for the current period.
I wonder, since these are going to be hand-delivered, whether the Minister could give an explanation why this costly procedure has been entered into by the Vancouver Resource Board.
HON. N. LEVI (Minister of Human Resources): Mr. Speaker, this is not the first month that this has happened. This has now happened, I think, for the last three months, because we have not been able to get any guarantee from the post office that mailing can happen within a reasonable amount of time. So the direct issue has been going on to my knowledge for three months now. This is the third month.
It relates, really, to the post office and the fact that they can't give us a date when the cheques would come in, when they would be received and when they would go out.
MR. McGEER: A supplementary. Could the Minister give us some idea of the comparative cost of these two methods? Our checks with the post office indicate that these things would be delivered without difficulty.
HON. MR. LEVI: Well, it is not only that. The delivery is done by some of the staff to some of the places where people live. The other method of distribution is by use of Chalmers church on 12th Avenue, where people come down. There have been two methods used for distributing cheques.
INDIAN BLOCKADE ON BCR
MR. A.V. FRASER (Cariboo): A question to the Minister Without Portfolio regarding the blockage on the BCR in northern British Columbia. Is there any progress being made to have this blockage removed? Things are getting fairly serious up there. I would like to know what progress has been made.
HON. A.A. NUNWEILER (Minister Without Portfolio): Mr. Speaker, the problem is severe. We recognize that. I am not able to report at this time on the extent of progress, but I can assure you that we are continuing to de everything we can. We've got a potential solution in the Tanla band which is not complete yet, but it looks very encouraging. That is the band that is further up the line.
BCR ANNUAL REPORT
HON. MR NUNWEILER: While I am up, Mr. Speaker, I would like to answer a question raised yesterday by the Hon. Leader of the Opposition (Mr. Bennett). He was asking when the detailed financial statement under the statutory expenditure Act is going to be filed by the British Columbia Railway. The deadline for that is July 1. I would mention that the auditors and the comptrollers have been very busy over the last six months, burning the midnight oil, trying to come to a solution, and there is every indication they will meet the deadline to file this report.
INCOME ASSISTANCE FOR EGG PRODUCERS
MRS. P.J. JORDAN (North Okanagan): My question is to the Hon. Minister of Agriculture. Would he please confirm to the House whether or not the B.C. egg producers are now in fact covered by income assurance?
HON. MR. STUPICH: Agreement has been reached between the negotiating committee and my department and myself. Regulations have not yet been presented to cabinet. Until these regulations have been approved by cabinet, that plan is not in force, although it has been agreed in negotiation that it will be effective April 1, 1975, when it does come into force.
[ Page 4033 ]
MRS. JORDAN: A supplementary. Would the Minister please advise the House if there were any conditions imposed upon the egg producers before presenting the regulations to cabinet that were not imposed on any other qualifying commodity group?
HON. MR. STUPICH: Mr. Speaker, perhaps the Member could be specific as to what…. I don't just know what she is driving at, because there are all kinds of things that can enter into negotiations.
MRS. JORDAN: Well, there seems to be some concern that the willingness of the B.C. egg producers to sign themselves into a central marketing scheme is part of the conditions of these regulations being approved, which would then ratify the scheme as announced by the Minister on June 2.
HON. MR. STUPICH: Mr. Speaker, supply management is an essential part of this particular scheme. Supply management means agreement to remain part of CEMA within the terms of the agreement signed by the B.C. Egg Marketing Board. Notice was given in December, 1974, that they would be pulling out within a year. I did insist that they live up to that agreement they had signed as part of the condition of entering into an income assurance agreement with them.
Orders of the day.
HON. E.E. DAILLY (Minister of Education): Mr. Speaker, I ask leave to proceed to public bills and orders.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: Mr. Speaker, we did mention we'd do Bill 84 first but I think we'll go on the order, which is a report on Bill 103, followed by Bill 84.
Report on Bill 103, Mr. Speaker.
MUNICIPAL AMENDMENT ACT, 1975
Bill 103 read a third time and passed.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: Mr. Speaker, committee on Bill 84.
LABOUR CODE OF BRITISH COLUMBIA
AMENDMENT ACT, 1975
The House in committee on Bill 84; Mr. Dent in the chair.
On section 1.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON (Victoria): I wonder whether the Minister could indicate why there is a need to change to 1(1)(a). What was the reason for this? By the way, on section 1, I would like to congratulate him for broadening the definition under 1(c)(iv).
HON. W.S. KING (Minister of Labour): Mr. Chairman, this is basically just a drafting amendment which clarifies the status of dependent contractors. It makes it clear that a corporation can, indeed, be a dependent contractor, and that persons who operate through a company for legitimate taxation or other business reasons are not restricted in terms of being recognized and fined as a dependent contractor.
MR. G.F. GIBSON (North Vancouver–Capilano): Mr. Chairman, I'd like to ask the Minister to comment on the removal of the exclusion of professional employees from the code. Generally speaking, I would suppose — I'm speculating here — professional employees, where they would be organized into a unit, would generally be organized into a separate unit. I'm making that assumption — the Minister may suggest that's not the way it will be. I would ask if this probable development doesn't lead to more fragmentation in particular industrial situations, and more of a possibility of closedowns because of just one more addition of a kind of a bargaining unit to the process. Or would it be his thought that, generally speaking, these professional associations should go in just as a component of an existing trade union in whatever company it might be?
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, it's always been the position of the Department of Labour that we in no way act to comment on or advocate the particular design of a unit. That is the clear responsibility, as it always has been, of the Labour Relations Board. I think the Member might be interested in noting that in the section 32 of the bill, which amends section 152(a), there is a transitional provision to ensure that any professional people, who may well meet the test of an employee, are not seconded into an existing unit unknowingly and unwittingly. In other words, there must be a test before they can be swallowed up just by essence of the coming into force of this section.
MR. D.E. SMITH (North Peace River): Mr. Chairman, for a few minutes I'd like to pursue with the Minister this matter of the new definition for the term of "dependent contractor". It would seem to me that if this term is now to include a corporation, this could very well mean that every one of the independent truck loggers, and their employees, in the Province of British Columbia, who operates as a
[ Page 4034 ]
small, private corporation, will now be included in the definition. They could be subjected, because of this change of definition, to any master agreement or contract between the employer, who is the prime contractor in the woods, and themselves. And they would lose their present position of independence by their own free choice, if they desire to continue working in the woods. Is this correct, Mr. Minister?
HON. MR. KING: No, Mr. Chairman, indeed that is not correct. In the first place there's nothing mandatory in the dependent contractor definition. It simply indicates, as was pointed out in the debate on the Labour Code when the dependent contractor provision was introduced, that these people can be deemed to be employees for the purposes of organization. But in terms of whether or not they wish to exercise that right, that is strictly up to them through the democratic process of a vote where a majority of a group would have to support and vote in favour of organization before that would occur — in precisely the same kind of exercise that units of employees become organized in the industrial sector or any other sector of the work force. So there's nothing mandatory or compulsive about the section.
MR. SMITH: On a supplemental question, Mr. Chairman. I don't want either myself or the Minister to be hung up on semantics in a case like this, because I think it's important that we know exactly what is intended.
It would seem to me that the people who operate presently as independent contractors throughout the Province of British Columbia, if they are incorporated and they work in an area of the woods where the majority of the workers are covered by a collective agreement, by IWA or whoever represented the workers, then they in turn would become subject to that contract, whether it was their will or not, because they would certainly be in the minority working in that particular operation in the woods.
Even though they may not have held a vote or expressed any interest in becoming part of a union, would they not be required to join a union as a result of the master contract which was in force, affecting the majority of the people involved in that particular operation? I think this is one thing we need a definitive statement on, Mr. Minister, because it is important to many of these small contractors throughout all of British Columbia who by preference choose to operate as a non-union shop, and their employees prefer that, as they have expressed at times.
It would look to me that they could be prohibited by this definition from working in the woods or any logging show or operation where a master contract or a collective agreement had been negotiated between the majority of the workers in that particular area and the employer. Do I interpret that correctly or not?
HON. MR. KING: No, the point is, Mr. Chairman, that if an existing union, a certified bargaining agent, applied for a group of dependent contractors to be included in the existing certificate, than a majority of those dependent contractors would have to sign cards indicating their willingness to enter, and they would be bound in that way by the majority expression of the dependent contractors involved.
If there was a question or a dispute as to whether or not a clear majority of cards had been obtained, then undoubtedly the Labour Relations Board would conduct a ballot to determine the wishes.
MR. SMITH: Thanks, Mr. Minister. I'm not suggesting that what you say is incorrect, because I do believe it's an important point. As you know, in many operations throughout the Province of British Columbia the independent contractors involved in any given logging operation in any given part of the province are generally in the minority with respect to numbers. If the people who are employed in that particular phase of the contracting process sign a card to become unionized, that's one thing and that's their business to either sign or not as they desire. But if because of a collective agreement in force with the majority of the workers in that logging operation they were considered to be union whether they desired to be or not, that's something else altogether, in their opinion.
You are telling us this afternoon that unless the union approached the independent contractors, who are not part of the collective agreement presently in force in that particular logging operation, unless they got a majority of the members to agree to becoming union, then they could remain operating in the woods without a collective agreement. Is this correct?
HON. MR. KING: Well, Mr. Chairman, I think we should separate two things. I am not referring in any way to a private contract that might be arranged between two parties — namely the forest industry, as an example, and their workers. If they sign a two-party contract, which in some way imposes a condition on a third party, that becomes a legal question as to the applicability and extent to which that two-party contract can be enforced upon a third party. That's not for me, I don't believe, Mr. Chairman, to attempt to interpret or comment on in the House.
MR. C.S. GABELMANN (North Vancouver–Seymour): I wanted to comment on sections 1(b) and 1(c).
In the question of 1(b), I just want to express my appreciation to the Minister for making the change
[ Page 4035 ]
which now allows farm workers and domestic workers and professionals and trappers and other categories of workers to be covered by the code, so they too can organize like all other workers. The only comment I'd make in passing is that I wish that had been done a couple of years ago so I wouldn't have had to vote against that at that time.
I wonder, though, if when we're comparing this kind of question and exclusions whether or not we should take note of the fact that there's a phenomenon happening in the country in relation to management personnel. One of the things happening at B.C. Hydro, certainly happening within the government itself, is that both professionals and management people are beginning to organize unions or associations of their own, and they, for their own reasons, seem to feel a kinship and seem to think that they should be lumped together in an association for collective bargaining purposes. What the code does is to prohibit that. The management personnel, who are becoming an increasing number in most situations, are left out in the cold. I think we're going to have to begin to address ourselves to the question of where, in fact, management personnel fit — I'm talking about middle-management people — in the bargaining structure or the unit structure in each company.
For example, at B.C. Hydro I know that management and professional employees had hoped to be able to bargain together as one collective unit, but that will not now be possible because the professionals themselves will be set aside. However, section (b) does make great progress and I want to express my appreciation for that.
Section (c) makes a major change to the definition of strike. What it does, in effect, is to say that a strike is no longer what we have thought of as a strike, but also adds to the question of slowdowns and presumably work-to-rule, because it's very difficult to differentiate between that and a slowdown, as the proposed amendment suggests: "…to restrict or limit production or services." I would say that for any factory that's producing 1,000 widgets a day on average, when the production goes down to 800 widgets a day, that presumably would be a slowdown. Therefore it's a strike, whether it's because there's been a bad day between management people and the workers or for whatever reasons, it could be considered to be a strike, particularly in the days leading up to the final conclusion of an agreement.
I'm not particularly happy about that. I think it takes one further weapon away from the trade unions in their economic struggle with management. In my view, management has almost all of the weapons already. They have the power to shut the factory down and operate in another part of the country, or shut the factory down and operate in another part of the world. The workers don't have those options. The workers have to work in the community in which they live and have to take the job in the factory or plant that they are already working at. They don't have the option of closing down for "economic reasons." I think that by including this kind of definition we've taken one further weapon away from what is really an arsenal that already is far too weak, in terms of keeping a balance between labour and management.
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: I'd like to speak on that last point. We heard this morning from the BCR management about the slow wheel and the fact that, according to the BCR management — and the transcript will undoubtedly support this — this is more damaging than a strike in terms of the fact that the railway must keep operating during such a slowdown. They are not able to or they didn't want to shut down completely. The losses mounted at a far more substantial rate than they would have had the whole operation been shut down.
I would not wish this amendment to go through without again congratulating the Minister and pointing out that there are cases where a non-strike weapon is more effective than a strike in terms of disrupting the operating. Therefore I think he is to be congratulated for grasping this particular nettle and pointing out that where there are actions which essentially close down an operation, or weaken an economic operation just as much as a strike would, the same general provisions of strikes and lockouts should prevail.
MR. H. STEVES (Richmond): Mr. Chairman, I, too, would like to address my comments to the same section as the previous two speakers have dealt with. In reply to the Hon. Member who just spoke, I believe the Hon. Minister last night pointed out that the work-to-rule clause was covered by section 4(2) which says: "No trade union and no person acting on behalf of a trade union and no employee &hall support, encourage, condone or engage in any activity that is intended to or does not restrict or limit production or services."
In the situation that the Hon. Member has just mentioned, if this was one being dealt with by the Labour Relations Board, they could already use that existing clause to deal with it. They have those powers now.
My objection to this amendment that's in now is that it actually outlines work-to-rule as a strike. In my own experience, while I recognize that teachers aren't covered under the Act — we'll talk about that in a minute — in negotiating on behalf of teachers in my area, this is one of the things that we used to use quite considerably in dealing with problems that might arise other than salary negotiations, problems dealing with teaching and learning conditions and so on. I think there is a parallel here between other
[ Page 4036 ]
occupations where these problems may arise.
When we used work-to-rule, it was generally to cease with activities that really were not part and parcel of our job — things like extra-curricular activities and so on, after-school sports activities and things like that. What we're doing here — if teachers are included under the Act, and I hope some day they will be — is saying that that type of work-to-rule, whether it's with teachers or any other groups that are covered by the Act, would be regarded as a strike. The situation then on the job would be allowed to get worse and worse until it was bad enough that you actually had a strike situation. So instead of using work-to-rule, you would be forcing a strike situation, which could be even more serious than simply work-to-rule or slowdown on the job. I think a direct confrontation is worse. So rather than being a moderating influence, I think it is one that could lead to further confrontations.
As I say, the Minister quite correctly pointed out that it was covered under section 4(2). I think that that is adequate. I don't think that defining it directly as a strike is really necessary.
With regard to other portions of section 1, I am very pleased to see the domestic workers, farm workers and professionals being included under the Act. I hope that groups in those fields will start to organize and take advantage of this Act in the coming years and use the full legislation that is available to them under this Labour Code.
Mentioning teachers, they are still excluded, as they are covered by the Public Schools Act. I believe that teachers are gradually now coming to a feeling that they may join the ranks of labour again as they were in the past. I hope that this will happen, that the teachers' federation had the teachers themselves will eventually join the ranks of labour. When they do, I hope that there would be a way found to include teachers in the Public Schools Act under this legislation as well so that all groups are covered by similar legislation.
MR. D.E. LEWIS (Shuswap): Mr. Chairman, I only have a few words on this vote in regard to the farm workers and the domestic people. I am most pleased to see that they are brought under the labour legislation. I would certainly like to commend the chairman of that committee, Colin Gabelmann, and the Members who went around the province and the effort they put into seeing and seeking every side of the problem that they could.
Myself, being a farmer, I can see many problems that are going to evolve from this legislation due to the imports that we have from out of the province and from out of the country. I just want to warn the public and the legislators here in this gallery that a very careful eye is going to have to be kept on the situation because we're in a position where the workers will be controlled and they will have the right for certain wages. But the farming segment of the population hasn't got that same control. They are told what they will receive for their product. This is really evident in regard to what has happened with beef production throughout the last year.
So I feel that we have a responsibility in regard to seeing that the farmers themselves are protected as well at the same time. Possibly the farmers themselves are also going to have to organize into a very strong union type of organization the same as everybody else has. We have to realize that we're in a dog-eat-dog situation in this country and throughout the world. If this is what they have to do to protect themselves, then they'll also have to follow the same line.
It's not fair to the people who are working for them that they should sacrifice their hours and their time to protect the rest of society.
I'd just like to say that I'm sure that the Hon. Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) will certainly have an ear wide open when the farming organizations come in and say: "Okay, we need some help now too, Hon. Member for Oak Bay. Will you stand up and support us?" I'm sure he will. (Laughter.)
MR. G.S. WALLACE (Oak Bay): I'll say: "Woof, woof, it's a dog-eat-dog situation."
MR. LEWIS: I don't intend to carry this on but I would just like to say that I am pleased that the committee and the Minister of Labour saw fit to bring this legislation forward. It's a forward step but there have to be some safeguards for the farmers themselves.
MR. SMITH: Just a couple of more brief remarks, this time with respect to provisions of section 1B. I was also one of the Members who travelled with the Committee on Labour and Justice and I expressed some concerns at that time and I'll re-express them now.
That is that inclusion of domestics and particularly agricultural workers in the provisions of the Labour Code without first of all defining how we're going to take care of their specific problems that become involved in the farming industry, is a cart-before-the-horse approach. I still believe that to be true, because I believe that we had an obligation as a committee to outline to the people involved in these specific areas of employment, how we would overcome their particular problems and that hasn't been done, Mr. Minister.
The legislation is before us now to include them. I think what we have to realize is that most farm crops are very perishable, that there is a selected period of time in which they can be harvested and that if, through union activity or whatever happens there is a withholding of labour at that time, we could very
[ Page 4037 ]
well lose the benefit of the entire crop.
The other thing is that I would hope that the Minister has given some consideration to how he's going to handle this problem of extended hours and long work-weeks involved in occasionally by people — particularly in the farming community who must for a short and intensive period become involved in working more than the regular hours. We should be able to provide some means to alleviate the problem which would mean that we have to envisage that the farm-owners cannot really get involved in double time or time-and-a-half and so on, provided that as they often do, they give days off and weeks off and certain other considerations somewhere down the line.
I don't want to get into a long discussion on it this afternoon except to bring it to the attention of the Minister. I know he's aware of it — the problem — but, Mr. Minister, if you consider it desirable to involve these people at this particular time in the Labour Code of British Columbia, then I suggest to you that you have even a greater obligation at this time.
That is, before the harvest season becomes a full-scale problem this fall, if you're going to proclaim these amendments before fall, you have even a greater obligation to provide some means in regulations to alleviate the great problems that could be experienced in the farming industry, particularly in this province. The last thing we want to become involved in is the loss of perishable crops because of the fact that somebody decided it was expedient to withhold labour.
MR. STEVES: Actually I hadn't intended to really get into this debate again until the previous speaker started talking about farmers. I guess, as the one that raised it in the first place, I should reply to him.
Someone here said the previous speaker didn't know it was there until we just told him.
MR. SMITH: Point of order.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! The Hon. Member for North Peace River on a point of order.
MR. SMITH: The point of order is simply this, Mr. Chairman, I happened to have served on the committee that sat throughout this province. I'm quite aware of what was involved in this particular section of the bill, and I don't think that the Member for Richmond (Mr. Steves) has any right to suggest that I do not know what's involved….
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! That is not a point of order. The Hon. Member is entitled to correct the record after the Hon. Member for Richmond finishes. The Hon. Member for Richmond.
MR. STEVES: It was said in jest. If any offence was felt on it, I apologize.
Actually, as far as the organization of farmworkers is concerned, in the first place as it regards farmers this year, to organize a farmworkers' union takes time. I don't see any on the horizon at the present time so I don't think anybody really has to worry about it for awhile until this happens.
What has happened in jurisdictions where farmworkers' unions have organized and this is largely in Britain and Europe, hasn't happened here in Canada. It is happening in the States, but where this has happened, actually it's found to have very good benefits to the farms and the farmers themselves.
What has happened in these jurisdictions is, once these working people working for the farmers have organized, this has actually forced the farmers themselves to evaluate their own positions and they have done just what the Member for Shuswap (Mr. Lewis) suggests.
The farmers themselves have set up their own unions — and I can think in Canada somewhat along the lines of the National Farmers' Union — and they have been able to negotiate with their own workers and with the businesses they sell their produce to.
So, in jurisdictions where this has happened, it was probably one of the best things that has actually been able to save farming and to save the farmers themselves when their own people get organized, because it forced them to recognize their own situation and to try and do something about it. It has been very successful in jurisdictions where farm workers' legislation has been brought in.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, first of all I should say to the Member for North Peace River (Mr. Smith) that I'm not sure, but I think that he is making a bit of an error in terms of the recommendations made by the committee on labour and justice.
The extent o f the adoption of their recommendations contained in this amendment is very, very limited. It is limited only to the question of the right to organize, and I wouldn't want the Member to get that opportunity and that right confused with the labour standards legislation which regulates hours of work and a whole host of other matters such as penalty payments for overtime, and that type of thing, hours of work. That is something that we will be looking at in the very, very near future, but it is not contained in this bill.
The proposition, though, that we should extend the right to organize and to bargain collectively with some contingencies which would preclude the possibility of occasional tie-ups in production, is something that I do not accept. Occasional tie-ups are certainly inevitable, in my view, in terms of the bargaining process.
[ Page 4038 ]
Now we at this point have no knowledge of whether the agricultural workers choose or wish to take advantage of their right to organize, in the first instance, and of course if we do, we certainly hope that they will be responsible and capable bargaining units.
But I am not prepared to extend the right on any limited basis. They should enjoy the same rights and the same privileges and the same breadth of function as any other trade unionist, in my view.
Now if course there is always a propensity and some danger of the occasional tie-up. But I do suggest that in totality, the number of man-days lost due to strike activity in this province is relatively small when compared to a whole variety of other problems which I have discussed in this House on other occasions. It is a problem, but that is one of the social disturbances that we have to accept as the price for the freedom and the rights of working people to bargain with respect to the price that they choose to sell their labour for.
I would like to say, in brief response to the Member for Richmond (Mr. Steves) — and I covered this partly yesterday — I just want to respond very briefly and say that one of the main points in the amendment to 1(c), I believe it is, pertaining to the definition of a strike, is the fact that there were some anomalies under the existing apparatus, as I pointed out yesterday.
It is possible and in fact has occurred, where a trade union was in a legal strike position, had served their 72-hour strike notice, and would have opted — in fact did opt — for the right to interject and impose some limited form of job action. They were prohibited from so doing, despite the fact that they were in a legal strike position. That produced the very anomalous situation where they were free to go on token strike, but prohibited from taking some kind of limited job action to exert economic pressures on the employer. That is indeed an anomaly in my view.
The only other real change is with respect to clearly defining that workers do indeed have the right to be the judge of conditions as to whether or not their work place is safe, or whether the hazard obtains to the degree they would consider it injurious to their health and safety.
If they make that judgment, it would not be deemed to be a strike. That is clearly spelled out and I think that's a very, very distinct advantage for workers in this province.
The other point I would like to make is with respect to this question of work-to-rule campaigns. We don't know what the board might find in that kind of situation. A work-to-rule campaign might indeed be justified, but it would relate to the evidence and the circumstances of the case and be subject to that test, the same test as other kinds of labour industrial relations conflict. So we don't propose or intend to make any hard legislative decision on that question.
Section 1 approved.
Section 2 approved.
On section 3.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I move the amendment to section 3 standing in my name on the order paper. (See appendix.)
On the amendment.
MR. WALLACE: I want, very briefly, to welcome the amendment because of the clear implication that without the amendment the employer was left with little opportunity, during the organization period, to suspend or fire a worker for due cause. I think that the Minister's amendment clears that up very nicely.
On section 3 as amended.
MR. SMITH: I'm just asking the page number for the amendment.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Pages 15 and 16 on the order paper.
MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I haven't had time to completely read the amendments, Mr. Minister, but one of the things that seems to be a cause of concern to many people is section 3(b). That is that wherever a union desires to exercise the provisions of section 39(1), which is application for certification, they may now require the employer to deliver to them a complete list of names, addresses and telephone numbers of the employees in the intended unit.
It would seem to me that there is a provision there which many people would consider an invasion of privacy, and I think rightly so. If someone wished to challenge this particular provision in court, he would have every right to do so and could probably come out with a decision where the court would uphold their right to privacy.
It is one thing for a union representative to go to an employer and say that he wishes to canvass the employees and ask them if they are willing to sign a card or allow a vote for certification. It is another thing for the employer to be forced by law to reveal not only the names and addresses of his employees, but also the home phone numbers of each and every one of those people. I think perhaps he has gone a little too far in that respect, Mr. Minister. If this
[ Page 4039 ]
information is offered voluntarily, fine. I would think any employer would first of all canvass his employees to see if they were willing to have that information offered. But where they are required to do it by statute, whether the employee agrees or not, is going a bit too far.
I would be very surprised if this type of an amendment is not challengeable in court. It does invade the privacy of the individual who may not object to being approached on the job, but has still at least the right, I think, to enjoy peace and quiet in his own residential premises.
MR. WALLACE: MR. Chairman, I have an amendment pretty much along the lines outlined by the Member for North Peace River. I think two points are involved: the unfair invasion of privacy, even down to the extent that this amendment suggests that the telephone numbers of the employees be provided by the employer to the trade union. In another respect, I feel that you are asking the employer to do the trade union's work for them. If nothing else, if the trade union wants to organize, which it has every right to do and should have every right to do, I don't see that the employer should be obligated to do their work for them in the administrative aspects.
More importantly than that, and far and away beyond the administrative aspect, is the fact that there may well be employees who have unlisted telephone numbers. That is also an individual right of a person in our society — to have an unlisted telephone number. The reason you have an unlisted number is for privacy. If your employer, without even asking permission, gives that telephone number out along with a list of names and addresses, it certainly invades the privacy of that individual, I think, in a very serious way.
While I would prefer to see the whole amendment dropped, I think the very least should be left off is the telephone number. I think you are really going too far in that respect. A compromise might be to at least delete the two words "telephone number."
I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper: that in section 3, line 13 of the proposed new section 3, after the words "intended unit" add the words "with the written permission of each employee".
At least that, I think, is a compromise approach — that the individual employee is given a chance to say whether he or she agrees to the disclosure of that kind of information. Presumably, in most cases I would expect that the majority of the employees who are in favour of becoming organized would disclose that information anyway. Probably not the telephone number, but they would certainly disclose the information the Minister is seeking.
On the other hand, let's remember that one of the most vital functions of a democratic system is to protect the rights of minorities, and I would suggest that here is a clear example where the rights of a minority should be given greater consideration. For that reason I move this amendment.
On the amendment.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I oppose the amendment proffered by the Hon. Member for Oak Bay. I recognize that there is a serious consideration here, relative to the privacy of individuals. But I think there's another dimension that is overriding, and which has not been touched on or recognized by any of the opposition spokesmen when discussing this provision. And that is the right of working people to gain knowledge and access to an option they have in law. That option is whether or not to associate themselves, along with their fellow employees, in the voluntary exercise of determining whether or not a union should be certified to represent them.
Now, obviously, there are distinct advantages in being represented by a trade union. I think this House should recognize that. The growth of the trade union movement itself is completely indicative of the trend toward working people demanding that they have some say in and some control over their destiny in the workplace. So I think it's a safe assumption that there's certainly merit and benefit.
But there are a whole variety of cases and incidents where a trade union would not be aware of who or how many employees were engaged in a unit that they sought to organize. There's a whole variety of reasons why at least some of those workers in that unit would not even be aware that a union was discussing the wisdom of applying for certification in that plant.
All Members of this House are very concerned about the democratic wishes of the majority. I draw to your attention this problem: a trade union could conceivably talk to 40 out of 60 employees in a plant, apply for and obtain certification, hence representation over all of those employees, and 20 of the employees in the plant were not even aware that an application had been made. Now you must weigh that consideration against the need and the import of ensuring that the union has access to all of the employees involved for the purpose of discussing with them the advantages of joining and supporting the union.
The other point is that the Members should recognize that although this is a new legislative initiative in Canada, it's certainly not a new legislative initiative in North America. It has been held and it has been found in the U.S. to be an unfair labour practice for employers to withhold the names, addresses and telephone numbers of their employees from a union seeking to organize the plant. That decision has been upheld in the Supreme Court of the
[ Page 4040 ]
United States. So I don't think anyone would agree that the question of the need for people to have privacy in terms of their addresses and telephone numbers overrides the prior and higher interest, in my view, of their options of discussing with a proposed bargaining agent the relative benefits of joining that association and playing a part in determining their own destiny.
So I reject the Member for Oak Bay's amendment, Mr. Chairman.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, I think it rather interesting this afternoon that we've come up with a very clear difference between that side of the House and this side of the House. I believe very strongly in the fact that in our society today groups, not just unions, various organized groups of authority and power are eroding the right of the individual citizen. And this is just one more little step along that long road, a well-intended road.
The Minister's pointed out the rights of the majority and I respect him, but I think his statement just clarifies crystal clear one of the big differences between the socialist approach and our approach.
I believe in the right of the individual which would not, in my view, greatly hinder or hamper the majority, as the Minister suggests it might. Down through history it's always been that little voice of one or two people telling the majority not to wield the kind of power that they might have just because of numbers.
You know you just give away a little bit in one piece of legislation and next year it's a little bit in another, and before we know it we have power-groups of various kinds — not just unions, power-groups in management, power-groups in various parts of the structure of our society. But every time the individual loses just a little bit of that right to his various accepted rights such as privacy.
I think we have a very unfortunate trend. Now the world's not going to come to an end tonight because we pass or reject this amendment, but I think that so often we lose sight of some of the very vital elements in our society, not the least of which is the element of protecting each and every one of us our individual rights.
I know the Minister's aware of that, particularly because of his own concern to set up a Human Rights branch and many of the other actions he's taken. But I think that the trend and the ultimate degree to which the individual in society may well finish up being seriously penalized because of the growth of power in the hands of majority groups is a very serious and sinister prospect that we should all take note of, regardless of our political stripes.
I feel that all I'm asking in this amendment is that the individuals concerned — the employees — at least be approached or asked "is it all right if the employer gives out your name and address?" and in the case telephone number.
If even the Minister would agree that the approach be made to the employees, and even if the employee says "no, " just protecting his right to say "no," I think, is something important.
It's the old argument that I may disagree entirely with what you are saying, but I would fight to the death to preserve your right to say it. I think that if even the employee was given the right to say to the employer, "well I disagree with this, but I know you have the power in law to disclose this anyway," I think even that would be just a little step towards minimizing the erosion of individual rights.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, we're definitely making progress in this House. We now have the Leader of the Conservative Party (Mr. Wallace) quoting a socialist philosopher and I welcome that.
MR. WALLACE: Rousseau, I think, wasn't it? Voltaire?
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, two points I'd like to make.
One regarding the section itself. It should be read and should be studied. It says: "…that the board may." "The board may" which means again that that administrative tribunal is able to look at the facts and the circumstances of the case. Now they may not order this kind of provision in every case…
MR. D.A. ANDERSON: Sure they will.
HON. MR. KING: …in every case. That's something that they are better able to do. It'll light up the circumstances surrounding the application.
The other point I wanted to make, and I appreciate the sincerity of the Member's concern for individual rights and liberties, but just let me trace for you an actual case which took place right here in the City of Victoria.
An application came in for certification of a very large plant after an organizing campaign had been under way for some period of time. The employer files his objections with the Labour Relations Board, pointing out that although a majority of employees in his main plant were in support of the trade union, that unbeknown to that union there was an adjunct to his plant in another location physically, but the same operations, with a number of employees there which upset the balance altogether. So that in fact, taken as a unit — and the board under those circumstances, would be highly unlikely to separate and fragment that kind of unit — certainly these amendments would require that that employer provide in totality the names of his workforce.
But under the circumstances that I've outlined the
[ Page 4041 ]
union made their application secure in the knowledge that they had a majority of the employees within that unit, only to find out that the employer had another small operation in his pocket with a, number of employees in there who, for various reasons, such as selective hiring, relationships and so on, fortuitously for the employer upset the balance.
Of course, this was all in the absence of any knowledge of the union, or any opportunity for the union to even have the chance to talk and to try to persuade the totality of the workforce what the advantages of unionism were. So you see that's the kind of situation you get under the existing law and I think that requires a remedy.
MR. P.L. McGEER (Vancouver–Point Grey): There are a variety of ways that the situations described by the Minister of Labour could be overcome without invasion of privacy of the individual.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! I would point out to the Hon. Member that we are discussing the specific amendment of the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace).
MR. McGEER: Yes, and I intend to support that amendment. The Minister of Labour has indicated his intention to reject it and has put forward a number of specious arguments. I want to demonstrate to him and to the other Members of the House that might just go along with the Minister that there are certainly ways of correcting the problems he's raised without encroaching on a man and his castle.
What disturbs me, Mr. Chairman, is that the sorts of things one reads about are not the kinds of things referred to by the Minister, but they're stories of harassment of individuals in their homes, by goon squads…
HON. P.F. YOUNG (Minister of Consumer Services): Oh, come off it.
MR. McGEER: …for the purposes…. That's what gets into the newspapers. You should, as people charged with the responsibility of protecting a man and his castle, to granting human rights above and beyond the tyranny of the majority, be certain that that individual can have solace in his home and take the kinds of objectionable muscle that sometimes go into the process of unionizing a plant out of that individual's private life, away from his children, away from the rest of his family.
I consider this an ugly and a sinister amendment — not amendment, bill. I support the amendment. I'll get to other sinister things coming from the Member for Oak Bay.
But if the problem, Mr. Chairman, is communicating information to the employees in a unit, then it would be easy for us to put on the books legislation that would require an employer to distribute to every employee any information that the union wished to have distributed. Make that a requirement. Leave the name and telephone number of the union agent. Let the employee call him, not have the union representative become a telepest to that individual.
How often we've heard the Attorney-General (Hon. Mr. Macdonald) stand up in this House moaning about telepests, insisting that people have the courtesy of privacy in their own homes. That's their castle. When you start moving the laws of the land and the rights of unions into a man's home, you've gone too far, in my opinion, Mr. Chairman.
I say to the Minister that if the problem is the union realizing how many people they have to sign up in order that they get a majority, why not place something on the books that would require the employer to state exactly how many employees he has so that the union is never in any doubt as to the numbers they must obtain in order to have a majority? That's a perfectly fair thing to have on the books. But home addresses so that they can pay midnight visitations? Telephone numbers so that they can call on weekends or any time of the day and night and bother the children and the wives? Come, come, that is an invasion of privacy.
HON. L.T. NIMSICK (Minister of Mines): You're making a mountain out of a molehill.
MR. McGEER: I'm not making a mountain out of a molehill. The individual in his home should have a right to privacy. That's what he has a home for, to shut out anybody that he wishes not to meet, not to discuss anything with. It's his castle. Stay out of it. There are other ways of achieving the objectives you outlined. If there are abuses on the part of the employer, for heaven's sake let's correct them, but not place the individual in the position where he can be harassed in his own home.
I personally would support anything that were put on the books that would require union literature to be distributed, that would require the employers to disclose the names, if you like, of the individuals, to disclose the numbers that have to be signed up in order for a majority to be reached. But his home address and his telephone number so that person can be pestered in his residence? Never, Mr. Chairman.
MR. GABELMANN: Mr. Chairman, the Member for Vancouver–Point Grey has done his usual research on Scare-West, and their library facilities are obviously quite extensive.
[ Page 4042 ]
MR. GABELMANN: He may well have been, but he didn't learn very much today. That's the most incredible bit of pap I have ever heard in this House from that Member. Let me say, Mr. Chairman, that's telling you a lot, because we've heard a lot of nonsense from that Member. He obviously has never been on either side of an organizing drive in his life. He's probably never been out of the laboratory at the University of British Columbia, and he doesn't have a clue what the problems are.
If he expects that a trade union organizer is going to go around, when he is attempting to secure the membership of a person who works in a plant, and hassle that family, hassle the kids, hassle the wife, hassle the employee himself or herself and pay midnight skulking visits…. How easily do you think that union organizer is going to get that card signed? That's just utter nonsense. I wish the Hon. Member would try to avoid the headline-seeking kind of speeches he makes that have no basis whatsoever in fact.
He suggests that the employer should, in fact, do the communicating with the potential employee or the potential union member. Think about that! Mr. Chairman, ask that Member to think about that for 30 seconds, if his mind can stay on one topic for that long. He will quickly, quickly see that that is absolutely absurd. Does he think that the employer will not colour the request of the union?
Let me just make one other point so we can make some progress on this bill, Mr. Chairman. Does he not know that the employer already has the names, addresses and the telephone numbers of the full list of people in that potential unit? What he is suggesting is that what the employer has, the union shouldn't have. That kind of double-standard — that kind of double-think — is typical from that Member. If, in fact, he wants to extend his reasoning to its full conclusion, the employer should not be allowed either to have that telephone number, address or other information. Then I wonder how the employer will know how to get hold of that employee when he wants to tell him that the plant won't be operating next week for various reasons. It's utter nonsense.
Really, Mr. Chairman, we shouldn't have to be subjected to those kinds of speeches in this House as if we were grade 3 students who don't know any better — and the Member thinks he can con us with those kinds of fatuous and phony arguments.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I'm not going to say very much. The Member for North Vancouver–Seymour (Mr. Gabelmann) said it very well. I just want to make the additional point that the Member for Vancouver–Point Grey obviously has some prejudices in terms of his views of our fellow citizens in this province who happen to belong to trade unions. The kind of tactics he outlined would be employed in organizing would be clearly illegal, would be clearly a breach of the law and dealt with in that way in the same manner as any other breach of the law. I think it's rather regrettable that he tries to infuse that dimension into an issue where it has no place whatsoever. I regret it.
MR. G.F. GIBSON (North Vancouver–Capilano): Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to say that neither the Hon. Member for North Vancouver–Seymour nor the Minister got to the language of the amendment, which is very simple and very equitable, it seems to me. It says: "with the written permission of each employee." It leaves it up to the employee.
MR. GABELMANN: Who is going to ask for the permission?
MR. GIBSON: It leaves it up to the employee, Mr. Chairman, to decide just how he wants the information as to what his private home address and telephone number are to be made available. That seems to me entirely equitable; I support it.
MR. GABELMANN: Mr. Chairman, I would just like that Member to be able to answer me the question: who is going to ask that permission — the employer?
MR. GIBSON: That permission, it strikes me, could be asked by union representatives at the place of employment.
MR. GABELMANN: So in other words, the union representative could go into the plant and get the list of names so that he could go around and get that permission. Fine.
MR. WALLACE: I'm not trying to delay the debate but I would just like to introduce the amendment to section 3(2)(b), line 2, to delete the words "and telephone numbers." I feel that the telephone is a very specific kind of communication and access to the individual. If we can't persuade the Minister with my arguments in the earlier amendment, I do feel that names and addresses are one thing; telephone numbers are a different thing. I do feel that it can be a very distressing invasion of privacy to be phoned or to have your phone number given out when possibly it is unlisted and you have no wish to use it other than for your own outgoing calls. I don't feel that this is an unreasonable request, to delete the words "and telephone numbers."
[ Page 4043 ]
HON. MR. KING: The Member for Oak Bay's amendment is clearly out of order. I think it flies completely in the face of the intent of the section. I would say it is out of order on that basis.
I would just point out further that if Members do seek private unlisted telephone numbers, they have that prerogative and would in this case in the same as any other situation. I suggest the amendment is out of order.
MR. WALLACE: It's not unlisted once you give it out, Bill.
HON. MR. KING: You can't give it out if it's unlisted.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. On the point of order raised, the Chair would rule that the amendment is in order in that it doesn't impair the general intent of the section.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, I am assuming that the employer as part of employment would want the telephone number for the reason that the Member for Seymour (Mr. Gabelmann) mentioned. The mistake, I would suggest, that the Member for Vancouver-Seymour is making is that he is putting two things in the same hat. He is suggesting that the individual who is quite happy to give the employer his phone number might not be happy to give his number to a trade union. I'm talking about a minority of people in the total work force in that plant.
It's wrong, I think, to assume that, because an individual who depends for his employment on the employer might be willing to give his employer an unlisted telephone number, but is not necessarily keen to extend the availability of that number to administrative staff, for example, of the trade unions.
I think that is rather a simplistic conclusion to assume that if the employer has the number, it should be available to anybody else.
But be that as it may, I just feel that this would not be any major hindrance to the intent of the Minister's amendment. For that small number of people who would want to maintain their privacy and to that degree and because of the very specific nature of access to the telephone and the disturbance that it can be at the wrong time, mealtimes, or whatever other times, I think it is an important step the Minister could take by just restricting his own amendment to names and addresses.
On section 3 as amended.
MR. GIBSON: A question for the Minister with respect to subsection (a) which would prohibit "the alteration of any term or condition of employment of the employees of the intended unit." Later on in a further amendment, the Minister makes provision for dismissal of an employee for just and reasonable cause. What about cases, also with proper cause, that might relate to suspension or transfer or lay-off? Would this be deemed to be a change in the condition of employment and therefore not possible under the terms of this section?
I see the Minister is nodding his head. If this is so, I would ask how he would deal with the case of large bargaining units where, during such a 30-day period, it is almost certain that just cases of suspension or lay-off or transfer would arise?
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I feel that any proposed or pending changes, either with respect to discipline or with respect to lay-off, can certainly be held in abeyance for a period of 30 days to absolutely ascertain that that device, that policy, is in no way related to affecting the balance of the unit being sought by a trade union's organizing campaign. In the industrial relations world, these are the common devices of employers who seek to dissuade and discourage their employees from joining a union.
That decision, by law in this province, as in every other province, is within the sole judgment of those employees' option and basically has nothing to do with the employer. It is not for him to intervene in any way. One can see then, that various lay-off actions by the employer can act as a signal to employees that perhaps if they are associated with the union's organizing campaign, they too will be laid off.
Certain disciplinary action that is threatened could well be used as a device for the same kind of discouragement to employees to join a union. That is what we seek to make absolutely certain will no longer happen in this province.
It happens very, very frequently. Witness the number of unfair labour practice charges that come before the Labour Relations Board every year. I suggest that the restriction on the employer for a 30-day period is not so severe or extreme that it can reasonably be held to impede his operation in any serious way.
MR. GIBSON: Just a further clarification. The Minister has made provision for dismissal during that period for just and proper cause. I would ask him if it is not the case that many dismissal offences are normally, before the dismissal, pre-dated by a period of suspension while the offence is investigated, while there is time to grieve or to bring various other evidence to bear. Would that be prohibited in this particular case and therefore, if allowed by the contract, the employer would be forced to go the
[ Page 4044 ]
immediate dismissal route rather than suspension?
HON. MR. KING: Of course, the employer would be called upon and required to provide just cause. But the important thing, the reason I opened it up to that extent, is through a consideration of conduct that could be so blatant that it would be altogether unacceptable to ask an employer to suffer even 30 days with an employee. That is a possibility. There could be a variety of conducts by employees that would be so blatant and so destructive that dismissal would be imperative very quickly.
If it is a matter that is so questionable or not so extreme that temporary suspension could be considered, then I submit again that that is a situation that is not so extreme that it cannot be delayed for 30 days.
MR. GIBSON: Once again trying to clarify this, let us suppose that a genuine suspension offence were committed during this 30-day period. Does any remedy lie with the employer at the expiry of the 30-day period, or is that suspension offence simply a part of history and no further redress lies?
[Mr. G.H. Anderson in the chair.]
HON. MR. KING: No, once the 30-day period expires, then the employer would be free to organize his business in the usual way, but the hope is that within that same period the Labour Relations Board could have conducted its appraisal and investigation — and, if necessary, vote — to determine what the true wishes of the employees were, and the reason for a freeze in the terms and conditions would be by the board.
MR. GIBSON: But the employer could then at the end of that period, reach back into history, as it were, if that seemed necessary once that period had expired.
HON. MR. KING: Well, that would depend, wouldn't it, on whether or not the union was successful? There is a bargaining agent available to the employees now and hence a grievance procedure and due process afforded to the employees. If there is no representation, as the law now stands, the employer might well be able to reach back without respect to any monitoring of the equity of the action he is taking. That's the way it is for the moment, anyway.
MR. GIBSON: I didn't mean to reach back without equity, Mr. Chairman. That wasn't my concern.
Let us assume that in a reasonably dangerous working area an employee showed up drunk one day during this 30-day period. It wasn't sufficiently dangerous that it was an instant-dismissal offence, but nevertheless it is the sort of thing that one does want to guard against in the interests of all the employees in the area. At the end of the 30-day period would the employer be able to say anything about that, or is this just a 30-day vacant period for the purpose of that kind of action?
HON. MR. KING: No, I'm sure if anything of that nature occurred while the freeze was on, the employer would file that information with the Labour Relations Board and perhaps state an intent to take a certain course of action when he was free to do so.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS (West Vancouver–Howe Sound): Would the Minister indicate when the 30-day period begins? What is the effective date?
HON. MR. KING: Well, the board would state the beginning of the freeze, Mr. Chairman.
MR. SMITH: Just one final word on section 3. I feel and many other people, I believe, feel section 3(b) is nothing more than an invasion of the privacy of individual people. I haven't heard the Minister say anything that would indicate valid reason for acceptance of this section inasmuch as what I have heard indicates that all he has done is give a very lukewarm reason for the inclusion of it. Perhaps, through this, it becomes a little less inconvenient for representatives of the trade union to exercise some degree of persuasion over people whom they wish to organize.
I still believe that the individual has a right to privacy and that without their explicit and written consent the employer really has no right to release the type of information this requests. For that reason, we'll oppose this section.
Section 3 as amended approved on the following division:
YEAS — 32
[ Page 4045 ]
NAYS — 16
Mr. Chabot requests that leave be asked to record the division in the Journals of the House.
On section 4.
MR. GIBSON: This is, perhaps, a technical question on section 4, Mr. Chairman. The exact language of the section requires that employees within the province ratify the agreement. Is it the intention of the Minister, or the intention of the amendment, that this be subject to actual bargaining within the province, or is it simply a yes/no ratification?
HON. MR. KING: The first part of the section requires that the company maintain a representative in the province authorized to bargain and consummate a collective agreement, and the additional requirement is that the employees in the province ratify.
MR. SMITH: Just a quick point to the Minister. It would seem to me that the acceptance of this particular amendment would be more of an obstacle to working out labour peace in the Province of British Columbia than providing a vehicle for labour peace.
I'm thinking specifically of large jobs in the province. We might even think of a proposed oil refinery in the Province of British Columbia, but I can think of others that are right now in place — one would be the hydro projects on the Peace and the Columbia. We might even think of a copper smelter or a steel mill which will involve a large labour force, the content of which is not known before the job starts.
It's not unusual today for prime contractors to enter into job conferences with the contracting firm prior to the time they hire any employees. Yet the provisions of this would seem to me to mean that prior to the actual start up of a project the employer is required to get an agreement from all the employees, or at least a majority of the employees, and have then ratify it. How can he do that at that particular time?
This seems to me, Mr. Minister, to impede rather than assist industrial and labour peace in the province. I'd like the Minister to comment on it because it is a point that I feel has validity when I consider the provision of section 4.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, if the Member is concerned, as I am sure he is, about the democratic rights of working people in this province then he will respect the need for union people to have a voice and a vote in terms of their preparedness to accept as a collective agreement one that may in fact have been negotiated outside of the province but agreed to in terms of its application within the province. Certainly, I don't think they should be subject to that kind of possibility without the right to a ratification process. I think that seems pretty fundamental.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, if I might state one further point. It would seem to me, then, that once this section is implemented we'll find in the process of bidding in the Province of British Columbia that contractors will be required - and would in fact be foolish not to — to include in that contract some sort of an escalation clause that would provide for a ratification of a union agreement at a time beyond the actual issuing of the contract.
While they know, basically, what might be involved in a small project, and they know the wage rates that are in effect, in many of the large projects of the province, which take in a multiplicity of people with diversified skills in many different unions, they would be very reluctant, I would think, to bid on that sort of a contract without knowing the impact it could have. We'll take as an example the B.C. Hydro contract which was negotiated prior to the time that the big project started in British Columbia on a no-strike basis. The thing that was accepted was that they would pay going labour rates, as they appeared, to the unions involved.
But don't you think that, really, you're involving the government in an obstacle rather than something that will provide a positive solution not only for labour peace, but also for the bidding of contracts on a reasonable basis rather than on an inflated and hedged basis, to protect the unknown problems that will become involved a few months after the contract has been negotiated?
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I don't know what possible relevance this could have to the kind of situation the Member outlined. Whether or not there is a collective agreement depends on a whole variety of things. But I think that it's pretty safe to assume that anyone who's going into major construction in this province should indeed budget and anticipate that he will be paying the going union wage.
I would just draw to the Member's attention the impossible situation that did obtain under the previous administration where contracts, perhaps bargained in Toronto, were tacitly agreed to in the Province of British Columbia, and yet with no legal obligation on either party to consummate that agreement in the Province of British Columbia, and
[ Page 4046 ]
hence with the propensity and ability to repudiate it or any part of it at any time. That's the issue.
Sections 4 and 5 approved.
On section 6.
MR. GABELMANN: Mr. Chairman, this section has been commonly called the dual unionism section. I have some serious reservations about the direction that we're going with the amendment. We already have the situation with the Christian conscience clause that was included in the labour statute, Bill 11, in the original introduction. We're now adding a category that allows a person to in fact work at a job where there's a closed shop, and join another union, but the union he has deserted no longer has the authority to discipline him in the way that they have had.
What worries me more than the actual wording and the actual philosophy of that particular amendment, what worries me most, is that the people who argue for this amendment — and a great civil libertarian argument can be made in favour of this amendment — the people who argue in favour of it use exactly and precisely the same arguments as those people who advocate right-to-work laws.
Now I appreciate, before the Minister gets upset, that this is not a right-to-work law. I'm very conscious of that. But the problem with it, in order to sell it, is that you have to use precisely the same arguments that the right-to-workers argue. I'm worried that the climate in this province will become more and more amenable to the philosophy that the right-to-workers are espousing, particularly if each year we add another section that gets us closer and closer in that direction.
I think the record of the trade union movement in matters such as this is very, very good, and I believe that the matter of policing should be left to the trade union movement. The most recent example, and I suspect the example that provoked this particular amendment, was the situation in Vancouver which related to the ATU and the B.C. Hydro, the transit authority, where some members, including members who had taken oaths of office in the union, decided to join another union and, as a result, the union in effect made a decision to take them off the job because of the closed-shop provision. However, in that case the trade union movement, because it recognizes it has responsibilities, prevailed upon that union to allow those suspended members to continue to work at the jobs at which they had been working.
So, in fact, an amendment like this was not necessary in that case, and I would argue that it is not necessary in any case because the trade union movement is as aware as anyone — and probably aware more than anyone — that if they don't police their own affairs satisfactorily, the state will be forced then to interfere, and whenever the state interferes in labour-management problems or matters, it's always to the detriment of the trade union movement. For that reason, the trade union movement is going to be very, very careful to exercise its own discipline, and I believe that that's where that discipline should be left.
The third thing in relation to the question is this: this is really a matter of civil liberties. It is a matter of human rights. That's where it belongs — in the Human Rights Code, not in a labour statute. The Minister has some authority over the Human Rights Code, and if he wants to deal with this kind of problem as it relates to the civil libertarian issue, I suggest he should do it in the Human Rights Code. The apparatus of that organization should be responsible for dealing with the problem. Once you introduce these kind of factors into labour legislation, I think you're on a slippery road that leads to chaos in the end.
MS. R. BROWN (Vancouver-Burrard): I certainly would like to associate myself with all the statements made by the Member for North Vancouver–Seymour (Mr. Gabelmann). He said most of what I was going to say, so I'll be very brief and just add a little bit about one particular group in the labour movement that would be severely affected by this particular section. I'm talking about the building trades and their affiliates.
Now the building trades are a strange group of people, quite frankly, in that in terms of their working conditions it's not like working in a plant or working in a factory where they're all together, day in and day out, on the job. In fact, it's a collection of people with similar skills who come together to do a job. When that particular job is over, they go their separate ways and they may come together in a different kind of group to do another kind of job. So you can understand why this particular section of the Act could constitute a threat to them in terms of allowing people who are not members of their particular union to work on jobs.
I think we've had a couple of examples of that being used very effectively with some buildings going up in the Vancouver area, and I'm sure that it goes on in other areas too, where non-union workers were allowed to work on jobs because the right was there. I would like to suggest that, despite the discussions, it is a person's individual right or it is a person's civil right.
[Mr. Dent in the chair.]
Also, I want to suggest that I'm not saying that any piece of legislation should address itself specifically and only to one particular group, but
[ Page 4047 ]
what I am suggesting is that maybe this is a section that needs to be looked at again, that maybe this is a section that the Minister should discuss further with the trade union movement to see if there isn't a more equitable way of achieving the goals that he wants to achieve without using this particular section to do it.
HON. MR. KING: I just wanted to say, Mr. Chairman, that there's another dimension to this thing. It's true that it is a human rights issue to a large extent, but I reject the suggestion that it doesn't belong in the Labour Code.
The Labour Code does provide the right for individuals to join trade unions free from penalty, free from intimidation from employers, and free, in fact, from intimidation in the exercise of their choice by unions. To allow a provision or an omission in the code to impair that inherent right which is enshrined in the code in any way, would, in my view, be a cop-out — a cop-out that I'm not prepared to accept.
I have said to the trade union movements — I agree with the Member for North Vancouver–Seymour (Mr. Gabelmann) — I think the trade union movement has done, relatively speaking, a very, very good job in terms of policing themselves in terms of this kind of conduct.
But there's no assurance and there's no mechanism for insuring that we don't have cases before us again where, for the purpose or for the crime of philosophical disagreement between a member and his existing bargaining agent, that he ends up expelled from that union at the discretion of the union, and with the ultimate consequence that he loses his job also.
Now I submit that expulsion from a union is a sanction in itself and a very serious one because it deprives that member of certainly a good deal of the respect of his peer group. It deprives him of the right to participate in the lawful functions of that organization such as the determination of policy — such as the policy related to wage negotiations, wage and contract ratification and so on.
To suggest that the union is left stripped bare is not quite correct and this relates simply to the case where he is being expelled solely for the purpose of belonging to another union. Now if the member's conduct is so disruptive and so destructive to the trade union in other ways, then certainly they may well have the right to take additional action against him but the board would again regulate that kind of evidence.
Section 6 approved.
On section 7.
MR. WALLACE: Well, Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to make a comment that under section 7 that where the board "seeks and receives reports of various kinds," presumably from industrial relations officers and special officers and so on, I think in keeping with the philosophy that this government has quite rightly espoused in the field of consumer services that where various reports affecting individuals relate to credit that legislation is moving in the direction of making these reports and the contents available to the party concerned.
I suppose there may be times when it might be a bit of a problem if the contents of the report were revealed, but on the other hand I have to assume that human nature being what it is, sometimes the content of that report is not always accurate and a decision is then going to be made by the board affecting two parties, where the report may not be accurate. Somebody's going to suffer because of an inaccurate source of information provided to the board.
So, it seems to me that that last part of section 7 where it states "the contents of a report without disclosing these contents to any party" is a little extreme. While my amendment may go too far in the other direction, once again I wonder if we could reach a compromise. But I would move at any rate, Mr. Chairman, the amendment standing in my name on the order paper to line 7 of the proposed new section 7, as follows — to delete all of the words after "contents of a report" and substitute the words "and such report or the summary thereof shall be disclosed to the parties."
In other words, the phrase "or the summary thereof" tries to get round the specific suggestion that the whole report down to every word and comma will be provided. But the amendment, I think, gives flexibility that the parties should know the content of a report on which a board decision will be based, and if that report quite unwittingly or without any malice or bad intention could be wrong in certain respects, it seems to me that the parties concerned before the board in the dispute should at least have access to these reports, or a summary of the report, and I so move.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, it has indeed been the long-standing policy of the department not to subject our industrial relations officers to that kind of conflict.
They operate in an investigative way themselves. In many, many cases, they are able to resolve differences before they ever develop to the stage of hearings before the board. They are able to do this to a large degree through their impartiality, through the trust that the parties hold for them. I submit that if they are required to be called to testify or to bear the judgments that they make — and they are judgments, in terms of a variety of situations — as one indicator to the board upon which the board will make their total decision…. The board also would
[ Page 4048 ]
undoubtedly be hearing evidence after a hearing and so on.
The IRO's report is often a background, a history on the development of affairs which could prejudice his subsequent relationship and his subsequent value to a trade union or to a particular industry in terms of them feeling that he had damaged their position in his report. I think it is advisable in those terms to maintain the confidentiality of the IRO.
I oppose the amendment.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I didn't want to speak against the amendment, although I couldn't support it, because I don't believe that you can compromise fairness and justice. I saw in the amendment a compromise which was unacceptable. I do not accept the response of the Minister of Labour to my principal objection to section 7.
I don't care whether an investigative officer for the board or the department is prejudiced or not in his subsequent dealings in the course of his responsibilities. What is important is that if this board is going to exercise the increasing judicial functions that are being given to it by this amending bill, then it is essential that the parties who appear before this board not be prejudiced. That is the important part. If you begin to prejudice the parties in their appearance before the board by allowing the board to receive evidence, suggestions, innuendoes and opinions, which are not capable of being tested when the parties are before the board, then not only do you interfere with the rights of the parties, but you tend to downgrade the value of the board to those parties and to parties who come before them in subsequent proceedings.
It is all very well to say that the board are responsible people and so on, but this is an inquisitive technique. Heavens, we don't want the board to become an inquisition where people come before the board in order to present their position without knowing the full information upon which the board itself is going to reach its conclusion.
As the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) says, in the investigative officer's report there may be a manifest error. Worse than manifest error, there may,be some prejudice on the part of that investigative officer. I am sure that if all of the investigative officers had the wisdom of Solomon, perhaps we wouldn't be concerned. Certainly, if the investigative officer in the course of his work can resolve the dispute, all very well. It doesn't come before the board. But once it reaches the board, if the board is going to consider evidence, information, fact, fiction, rumour, or some assessment made by an investigative officer in reaching its decision, then the parties are entitled to know the basis upon which that conclusion is being reached. This is an offence against natural justice. This could be easily categorized as star chamber–type tactics. I am surprised that the Minister would allow this amendment to come forward in the light of what he said in opening the debate on second reading.
It is this kind of section which tends to destroy the confidence which is so slowly being built up in the Labour Relations board.
MS. R. BROWN (Vancouver-Burrard): I am wondering whether the Minister would explain again and more slowly and clearly to us the reasons why these additional discretionary powers are being given to the board. What kind of recourse does either side have in terms of forcing the board to tell them what is enclosed in these reports? Is there something under some other piece of legislation that they could appeal to? How does the board decide when it is going to release information and when it isn't going to release information? How is it going to develop its guidelines, and what kind of input would either side have in terms of the development of these guidelines? I think we really would like to get a lot more information from the Minister as to exactly why he has given these very broad discretionary powers to the board.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I did indicate to the House that there is a matter of confidentiality involved that is essential to the department officers. I'm suggesting that to force them into revealing a report or a partial judgment they have made in the course of their investigations is certainly going to ultimately place them in a partisan position in the eyes of the parties they are forced to deal with. That's their continual job and their continual role. I think it's interesting that this issue is highlighted and debated in this way. This is a practice and procedure in every province across this nation that I am familiar with, and has in fact been the practice in British Columbia since I can recall. It is not a new and unusual power granted to the board. It simply spells out and clarifies without equivocation that the officer will not be compelled, without agreement of the board, to testify in that way.
There is a difference between the kind of investigative work he does in the hearing process and that which the board would be engaged in making their decision.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: Mr. Chairman, I think the adequacy of the proposition that I have been putting to the committee, and that of the Second Member for Vancouver-Burrard (Ms. Brown), is clearly indicated by the response of the Minister. Every time the government brings forward something wrong, it says that it's wrong but it's right because it is done in other places before. If you have an injustice and you
[ Page 4049 ]
repeat it 1,000 times, it doesn't become just; it still is an injustice. If you have something which is unfair, you can repeat it a million times and it is still unfair.
I have no objection to the investigative officers making their reports; I have no objection to the board considering those reports. I only object to them considering those reports themselves, and not making those same reports available for corrections if there happens to be an error. That is what is fundamentally wrong. It is a fundamental injustice. If every one of the 10 provinces, and the national government as well, have this in their labour legislation, they should take it out. They should take it out. No wonder the Member for North Vancouver–Seymour (Mr. Gabelmann), who has a very deep, abiding feeling for the trade union movement, objected to this bill on second reading. This is precisely the thing that gives him concern, and should give us all concern.
There is one other matter, Mr. Chairman, that should give us all concern. Without transgressing on the rules, if the Members will look to the last section of this bill, for some reason or other this amendment is being made retroactive back to January 14, 1974. For what reason is the government now coming before us saying: "We want to rectify what has been an unfair, unjust, inequitable activity on the part of the board, which we are told we should respect"?
MR. GABELMANN: Mr. Chairman, I've listened carefully to the Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound, the Member for Burrard and the Minister because I was prepared, if I had an adequate explanation from the Minister, to accept the section. Quite frankly and honestly, I have not yet had an adequate explanation from the Minister. I feel that he at least owes to the House the courtesy of telling us, as the Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound suggested, what the January 14 date is all about and how he can justify, as the Member for Vancouver-Burrard asked, this kind of potentially misleading or inaccurate information to be in the hands of a semi-judicial body that the parties affected by it have no knowledge of. That's a serious concern.
It's funny, we get going on different sides on the question of civil liberties. On an earlier one, the Minister was on one side of the civil liberation question, and I on the other, and I suspect we've reversed roles in this particular question. Frankly, I would like to hear a better explanation from the Minister.
MS. BROWN: Mr. Chairman, really, I would just like the Minister to tell me how it would be possible for either party to check the facts in the report. How can either party check to find out whether what's contained in the report is accurate or not? The second thing is that I am really kind of curious about what guidelines the board would be using in terms of deciding when it would reveal what's in the report, and when it wouldn't reveal what's in the report. Just those two little questions.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I try never to be discourteous to the House, and I am surprised that a person on my side of the House would suggest such a thing. We may disagree on a variety of things, but I certainly do not try to be discourteous or withhold information from the House.
The question of the retroactivity is in the face of three court cases which would require an industrial relations officer to give evidence.
We've got two ways to go. If the House wishes to adopt the position that investigative officers for the advice of the board are going to be required to give evidence to reveal judgments they make for the advice of the board, and be subject to subpoena and cross-examination in hearings, then undoubtedly that service, that investigative service of the industrial relations officers, will not be available in the future as it is now. There is certainly no reason why an employee under those circumstances should subject himself to the kind of legal hassles that naturally flow from making any judgments for the benefit of the board.
This has been the situation for many years. So all we are doing here is, not striking a new policy but seeking to preserve what has been the policy in this province and, in my view, protecting industrial relations officers so that they can continue to function as a worthwhile benefit in most cases to workers in this province.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, I just want clarification of the Minister's last statement. Does he mean that if the reports were to be revealed to the two parties, the Minister feels that the industrial relations officers might not take the risk of committing themselves to certain judgments in the report if they knew that these judgments were to become known to the parties?
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: Well, I notice that in response to the question from the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) the Minister nodded his head in what I deem to be the affirmative. I just can't quite honestly believe that. I can't believe that any investigative officer, responsible to the board and to the Minister, would indeed be deterred from making a fair and accurate report of the facts concerning any dispute, or making in his best judgment the fairest assessment of the circumstances, and that he would withhold making such a report because somebody might read it beside the board.
I just don't believe that people function that way. Indeed it downgrades the whole value of the investigative officer and the work that he is going to
[ Page 4050 ]
do if there is any suggestion that the reports that come before the board are going to contain matters that that investigative officer would not want known by either one or both of the parties to the dispute.
The extension of this argument takes us into areas which horrify a person. Just imagine, Mr. Chairman, if we were to defeat this legislation so that an officer was obliged to testify, so that his report was available to somebody else. Then the Minister leaves us with the conclusion that his people won't do their jobs. Now if that is what the unions or the employers can be led to believe, then how do you ever resolve any of these disputes, outside of going the full route to the board? I just don't believe that the officers who are involved in these activities should be put into this position.
Now as far as the retroactivity is concerned, the Minister says there are three lawsuits going on. Is the Minister saying that he doesn't want the facts in these reports or the assessments of these investigative officers to come before the courts of this province back to January 14, 1974? The Minister talked about the officers being called to testify. Now if the Minister wants to provide legislation whereby such an officer is not a compellable witness, then that's another matter.
My objection is to the board receiving reports and taking them into consideration without having the opportunity of the other party seeing what the information is.
Take a simple case, Mr. Chairman, where an investigative officer, by reason of misinformation that he is given, reaches a faulty conclusion. If that conclusion is made available to the parties, and there was faulty information, then it can be corrected before the board, and the matter is then resolved. But if it is not made available to the parties, the board makes its decision on misinformation and the faulty conclusion drawn from that misinformation. As a result, one of the parties, the union or the employer or an employee, may be seriously prejudiced, and he doesn't know why.
I just don't believe that this is the way that Ford or its officers or the government want this matter to develop.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, let me try to outline for the House some of the problems that would be encountered by accepting the Member's proposition that industrial relations officers' reports must become a part of the due process, as the Member would indicate.
In the first place this is not a judicial exercise. It's an exercise in terms of trying to regulate industrial relations and certainly the speed with which applications to the board are handled is very, very relevant in terms of industrial peace in this province. It's relevant not only in terms of industrial peace but it's relevant in justice to the interests of the parties. So take a matter of an unfair labour practice charge laid against an employer by a trade union. The board has no basis at the outset for understanding what the facts of the matter are, whether there's additional substance to the charge to justify a full hearing, so they dispatch an investigatory officer to examine what the facts of the case are in a fairly basic way — in a fairly fundamental way.
Now, his investigative advice to the board assists them in determining just how to proceed with that kind of appeal to them, and a whole host and a whole variety of other appeals that come to the board. Some of them certainly don't justify action by the board. Certainly not a hearing. So it's an aid to speed up the process to determine whether or not a case is made as valid circumstances to justify a hearing and notification to the parties of the hearing and the taking of evidence and so on. So it's a mechanism for speeding up the process and ensuring that the board has some advice upon which to know whether to set the administrative mechanisms and process or not.
I think that it's wrong for the Hon. Member for West Vancouver–Howe Sound (Mr. L.A. Williams) to attempt to liken this to the judicial process. I think that's completely improper because this is industrial relations.
We are certainly not dealing with the kind of legal sanctions, a threat to individual liberty, which is inherent in the judicial system. We are dealing with rights, disputes between two parties in conflict and it's quite dissimilar in that way, I submit.
I also submit that the main weight in the decision of the board rests on and is related to the matters that arise and the evidence that is given in a hearing, as to the facts of the matter, and not very heavily on reports of an investigative officer. It's an aid in terms of determining whether and how to proceed with the complaints.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: I don't want to delay the debate longer but the Minister deals in semantics. This deals with matters of dispute. Disputes involve two or more parties and that's what comes before the courts of our land. I'm not talking about the criminal proceedings where the liberty of the subject is at stake, but I'm talking about the rights as between two individuals or classes of individuals in our society. This deals with a dispute under an Act, a dispute under a collective agreement, or a dispute under the regulations.
Now I can imagine that there are many proceedings which never come to a hearing.
HON. MR. KING: That's right.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: If the Minister wants to limit the provisions of this section to that type of
[ Page 4051 ]
proceeding then that's all very well, but when you have a dispute and when there are two parties, or more than two parties involved, they are entitled to know the evidence upon which the board is making its decision.
I understand fully that the Minister's goal with regard to the Labour Code Act and the operation of the board is to provide some speedy resolution of difficulties before they worsen and I congratulate him on that. But, Mr. Chairman, you have heard it said many times that justice denied is justice delayed — but the converse is not necessarily true. As a matter of fact speedy justice is sometimes the worse kind of injustice and when speedy justice is based upon a circumstance where the evidence which may result in the resolution of dispute against one party is kept from that party, then certainly it is injustice.
Section 7 approved.
On section 8.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper.
Amendment to section 8 approved.
On section 8 as amended.
MR. WALLACE: I know we're all trying to get the session ended, but section 8 has the enormous ramifications. It amends sections 27 to 34 of the existing code. I think we should be fair to the House and not just say that the Minister move the amendments without going into some detail on these amendments.
In particular, the one that the Minister is deleting I happen to favour, inasmuch as it seemed a radical move. I am talking about section 28 of the existing code, subsection (b), which had intended to give the board the power to rectify a collective agreement. I don't propose to go into all the reasons why this amendment is a good one, but nevertheless it does show the far-reaching effect of the amendment we are debating.
I wonder, when the Minister moved his motion a moment ago, was he referring to all the amendments between sections 27 to 34 of the existing code, or are we going to take them one by one? I would suggest it is very important we take them one by one.
Section 8 includes, as you know, Mr. Chairman, several amendments to differing sections of the existing code.
MR. CHAIRMAN: On a point of order, the procedure is that we are dealing with the entire section 8 as amended.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: On that point of order, Mr. Chairman, how can we do that? The Minister has moved an amendment under section 8, but in fact he has got three amendments under section 8. One amends section 28(1), one deletes 28(1)(f), and the other deals with section 31(b). We've got three amendments. Which one are we talking about?
MR. CHAIRMAN: The position of the Chair is that all three amendments constitute an amendment in group to the section. That has already been approved by the committee. So we are dealing with the section as amended by these three specific points. They were passed as a group.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, on a point of order, could I not just ask you to reconsider. We are amending three different things. Okay, the three amendments are within section 8, but section 8 covers half the ballpark. Three differing amendments relate to three different points altogether. Unless you just want us to delete all three in a hodgepodge manner, or rather in an inclusive manner, it would seem to me that it would be much better to take them singly. I will abide by your ruling, but I think on reconsideration it would make a lot of sense to take the amendments one at a time within section 8.
MR. CHAIRMAN: If it is agreeable with the Minister. As far as the Chair is concerned, the amendments are passed. We are considering the section as amended. If the Minister wishes to reopen or to return with the agreement of the House….
MR. WALLACE: No, no. Oh, no, Mr. Chairman. I submit to you the amendments were moved. The amendments have not been passed.
AN HON. MEMBER: Yes they have.
MR. WALLACE: No, they haven't. I stood up the minute the section was called. The amendments were not passed. I am certain of that.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Hon. Minister moved the amendments. The Chair put the amendments…
MR. WALLACE: And I stood up to speak.
MR. CHAIRMAN: …and ordered them passed.
MR. WALLACE: With respect, Mr. Chairman, when the Minister moved the amendments I stood up to take part in debate on them and raised the point of order that it would be very difficult to debate them collectively.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Well, in that case, I am sorry.
[ Page 4052 ]
The Chair did not notice the Hon. Member standing. However, I will defer to the Hon. Member and on that basis, we will consider that since the Member was on his feet, we will deal with the amendments.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: Hear, hear.
MR. WALLACE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will try to be brief. We will deal with them altogether then, I guess.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. Perhaps we could ask the Hon. Minister whether he wishes to have them dealt with together or separately.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, in terms of moving the amendments, it had been my intention to move all of the amendments contained in section 8. In terms of discussing them, I have no objection to discussing them on a separate basis.
MR. CHAIRMAN: We will consider each in turn, beginning with the first one.
MR. WALLACE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As to the existing section 28(b), the Minister has removed the power of the board to rectify a collective agreement. I support that amendment. In this existing section 28 of the code, these amendments generally really spell out the very basic thrust of the Minister. He was very fair to the House yesterday indeed in spelling out the fact that more power should be given to the board. Indeed, that is very clear in 28(1) and its various subsections also.
In particular, this section as amended, or if it is amended, certainly has one very radical change where it gives the board the power to award damages, which would seem to be a further erosion of the traditional approach to the courts, with the exception of course, of part 5, which deals with strikes and lockouts.
I just wonder if this isn't, again, going too far in the basic direction that the Minister wants speedy settlements where the board can take certain actions without being unduly legalistic. In the very important area of awarding damages, in the section which we're amending, there is a question I'd like to ask: does not the Minister feel that this is too radical a change? While it might be a good philosophy to give the board more power in specifically hearing and settling disputes, but to go that final step of the way and to give the board the power to award damages — which traditionally and certainly in the court system in our democratic society, very much resides in the courts of the land — is I suggest with respect, exceeding the power which should be given to the board. I wonder if the Minister has given it complete thought, and has thought it through to the point that he's completely convinced himself that this additional power is wise.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, as I said yesterday, in many ways these amendments are a response to particular cases that have arisen over the past two years or year and a half. We find that in some cases an employer's conduct, for instance, is so bad and so completely unusual and harsh that the normal remedies contained in arbitration, reinstatement and back wages, are simply inappropriate in the light of the kind of conduct that has occurred.
For instance, in a case where physical violence has been visited upon one of the workers to a very serious and severe extent, it's pretty obviously ineffective and ridiculous to try to reinstate that worker in a relationship of very close employ with that kind of employer. It just simply isn't a solution to that kind of unusual problem. Admittedly, it's an unusual problem, and I think it would be only an unusual situation which would trigger that kind of response. Nevertheless, these things do happen, and, again, as Members of the House have indicated, justice must seem to be done, too. An arbitration process that provides no effective remedy, even in the face of finding a party guilty, is not a process that's going to suffice in terms of maintaining respect for the system, and respecting a conviction in the mind of the parties that they are indeed receiving a fair measure of justice and remedies tailored to meet the reality and the needs of the particular problem. So that's the thinking of it. It's true, it's unusual to some extent. But we meet some very, very unusual circumstances in industrial relations, and I like to see the flexibility to respond to those very, very unusual situations.
MR. WALLACE: Well, just briefly, Mr. Chairman, would it not be possible for the Minister to write in some qualifying phrase relating to the point he's made? — that this will deal with unusual situations. Because in the absence of such a phrase — and I think we were on another section earlier on….
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please. I'm not clear. Is the Hon. Member speaking about the first amendment? — that is, about the deletion of the words "collective agreement."
MR. WALLACE: Oh, you're quite correct.
First amendment approved.
Second amendment approved.
On the third amendment.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, on this third amendment to the existing section 31 of the bill, I wonder if the Minister could give us a better explanation of section 31 and the intent of the
[ Page 4053 ]
amendment. I find that whole section extremely difficult to understand because of the repetitive use of the two words "exclusive jurisdiction" about three or four times, and then the one time that it appears in subsection (b), it's "excluded." Frankly, I've great difficulty in understanding what that amendment is all about. Could the Minister explain, please?
HON. MR. KING: The amendment which amends section 31 is kind of a clauseomatic change. It simply makes it clear that the board has now specifically exclusive authority over applications and complaints under any provision of the code, any and all provisions of the code. As I pointed out yesterday, there are two exceptions in terms of the board jurisdiction that are clearly left with the courts. I pointed them out yesterday.
Third amendment approved.
MR. STEVES: Mr. Chairman, section 8 — the new section 27 as outlined in section 8 — basically outlines the principle of this bill which some of us were talking about last night. It is this section that I find of very much concern to myself. This section in the new section 27 outlines the powers of the board and their terms of reference and how they're going to deal with labour and with employees.
This is the section I was referring to last night when I suggested that they're trying to show that labour and management are actually on an equal footing, when in effect, 90 per cent of the time at least, while labour in the public eye looks like it's very strong and maybe on an equal footing with management, actually it is in a very weak position.
I referred last night to the fact that multinational corporations and so on have the resources in other countries that they don't have to worry about their operations here in British Columbia if they have labour disputes. They can afford long strikes and they can hold the public up to ransom in order to get their way, or they can actually move their operations elsewhere. I outlined where — in fact, I didn't outline it very well — in Chile, for example, when democracy fell in that country, Anaconda was able to get its mines back and we saw similar copper mines by that same company here in British Columbia closing down because they were able to exploit workers down in South America. They didn't need to worry about the people working here in Canada.
The same thing applies at the present time to some extent in the forest industry and in the fishing industry. In the fishing industry we see where the fishermen are being offered last year's minimum prices for their fish. It looks like we'll have a strike in that industry because the companies can afford not to operate. They can afford it. They've got operations all around the world. The fishing industry is largely tied in with the Weston empire, and they can afford to close down one section here, one section there. So labour in this case again is in a very inferior position to management because they don't have that big clubs. The workers have to go back to work sooner or later because their livelihood depends upon it, their families depend upon it and they need the jobs for their income.
The food industry was mentioned last night as well, and here again I mentioned Weston and the fishing industry. Weston has around 350 companies in the food industry in Canada. There are one or two other major multinationals operating in the food industry. It doesn't really matter too much if they close down one segment of the food industry and hold the public at ransom in order to force their employees into line — again, another situation of very gross inequality between the working people and the owners of the big companies.
This section suggests that these two groups are equal and that they are able to sit down as equals before the Labour Relations Board and the board would be able to make judgments one way or another. I think that the philosophy behind this section is wrong.
The new section 28 gives the board much-expanded discretionary powers in dealing with the philosophy of the legislation. section 28(c) expands their powers to the extent where they can refuse to make an order even if the Act has been contravened, if they feel that one of the other parties hasn't been too good, if they've had bad conduct on one side or the other. In effect, we're giving, I think, a tremendous amount of authority to the board to make that kind of a value judgment. It's sort of like the value judgment of a very, very stern parent, rather than one who is trying to allow the two sides to work out the problem. It's the one with the stern parent coming in and saying: "Here you are, two equals, and we're going to go down the middle and this is the decision and that's it." And you have very little recourse to dispute it.
So basically the board is given some quite unfettered powers to make decisions when the Act has been contravened, whether they will allow the contravention or not. In this clause, they will actually consider to allow that contravention of the Act to continue.
Section 28(1)(f) was amended, but even with the amendment it still does not make too much difference, because all it deletes is that the reference back to the new section 27 says, "the board can make such an order or proceed in any such manner as the board considers appropriate in all circumstances, " and the amendment just says "all circumstances relating to the principle of the bill." We know that the principle of the bill, whether it's written into that clause or not, still stands.
[ Page 4054 ]
Therefore the board has the powers to do whatever it wants. It doesn't make any difference at all. It has exclusive powers, whether it's written into thy bill or not, to make judgments, with regard to section 27, as to whether the intent of the bill has been carried out.
The intent of the bill is emphasized throughout all of the clauses under section 8 to be placing the emphasis on industrial peace and the public interest. It fails to recognize that the public interest, while it is….
MR. STEVES: I've listened to you, Hon. Member, and I hope that maybe you'll listen to me for a change.
The emphasis on public interest quite often is to the detriment of the working people because what happens, as I mentioned earlier when I got up to speak on this at the very beginning of my talk on this section, when the companies with their millions of dollars, their multinational corporations, their contracts around the world, really want to come down hard on the working people, what we see in the press and what we see from the Members of the opposition are screams and hollering that in the public interest we must send the workers back to work — in the public interest the working people must accept lower pay than they would otherwise get or they must accept poorer working conditions. This is always the kind of thing that is brought out in the name of the public interest.
It bothers me to see this kind of legislation being brought in by our government because we're actually, to a certain extent, taking sides because it is not an equal situation. It is a very unequal situation. The right to withhold your labour and the right to bargain collectively without undue imposition by a third party is one that I feel very strongly about. I feel that should be the basis of the philosophy of legislation such as this. I see that philosophy that I believe in being somewhat eroded by this particular clause.
AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, this is an executive section going to some three-and-a-half pages. I have four brief questions or comments for the Minister on it.
First of all, under section 28, I appreciate that his amendment may have been directed to this particular topic, but the remaining power of the board to direct an employer to do anything with respect to a collective agreement could; it seems to me, even with that amendment, turn the board into what you might almost call a super-grievance board and have it receiving appeals from all kinds of arbitration panels provided for in collective agreements. I would ask the Minister to comment on that.
I would ask him to comment also on part (d), which gives very broad powers to the board to fix the monetary value of injury or losses suffered by an employer or trade union — in effect, the power to impose a fine with apparently no appeal of any kind whatsoever.
With respect to the re-enactment of section 31, it states in particular that the board has exclusive jurisdiction over "any application for the regulation, restraint, or prohibition of any person or groups of persons from" — and then among other things — "communicating information or opinion in a labour dispute by speech, writing, or other means." This seems to me, among other things, Mr. Chairman — and I appreciate that there is language similar to this in the Act at the moment — but this seems to me to give a mechanism — and I'm sure it's not the intent to give such a mechanism — of controlling press comment on any kind of labour dispute. Since it does give such a mechanism, even if that's not the intent, I think it's wrong and should be removed.
Further, I would comment on the re-enactment of section 33, which gives the board the exclusive jurisdiction to determine the extent of its jurisdiction under this Act. I am not a lawyer, Mr. Chairman, and I don't ask the Minister for a legal opinion, which I can't under our rules, but I would comment that surely it's up to the courts of this country to interpret the law as they see fit. Surely we cannot remove that kind of right and obligation from the court system.
MR. WALLACE: Mr. Chairman, I just want to talk briefly and introduce the amendments I have on the order paper. I am talking particularly of section 32(4), where it states that — and I clarified this point with the Minister in second reading — a court of competent jurisdiction can only award damages if the board has determined that it can award damages. This seems to be a very radical change of position also.
I would, on that basis, Mr. Chairman, move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper to section 32(4), to delete the section and replace it with the following: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to restrict or limit the jurisdiction of a court of competent jurisdiction to award damages for injury or loss suffered as a consequence of conduct that is in contravention of part V."
The Minister has made it very plain that he does intend to give the Labour Relations Board a great deal more authority. But on this particular issue of awarding damages, does the Minister not consider that the parties should have the right to go to the courts seeking damages and not first of all have to get permission of the Labour Relations Board to determine whether the courts can award damages?
[ Page 4055 ]
On section 8 as amended.
MR. WALLACE: I'll just try again with my second amendment. In section 33 it's this whole question again of the board having exclusive jurisdiction to determine the extent of its jurisdiction.
These two words "exclusive jurisdiction" keep cropping up in the code, and I presume the Minister is trying to make it abundantly clear that with the two exceptions he has mentioned, the board has total and complete jurisdiction, and it also has the right and the power to determine the extent of its jurisdiction.
I just worry considerably at giving such extensive power to the board and I would like to ask the Minister if, as I read this section, any excessive jurisdiction by the board — although it is difficult to see how that could happen — but is it open to review in the courts, the question of whether or not the board has exceeded its rightful jurisdiction under the code?
Regardless of that, I just do feel that this is going too far in giving that power, and so I would move the amendment on the order paper to section 33, line 1, that adds to the words "exclusive jurisdiction," we delete the words "to determine the extent of its jurisdiction."
MR. WALLACE: I realize I am not having much success, but I will try one more time.
MR. WALLACE: No, I haven't got an amendment.
The last question I want to ask on section 8 — and I am referring to the existing section 34(2) of the code, which states, "except in respect of the constitutional jurisdiction of the board," and I wonder if the phrase "constitutional jurisdiction" has any specific meaning, or is this wording just put in to give an opening to the courts to review the jurisdiction of the Labour Relations Board? That first subsection (2). It says, "except in respect of the constitutional jurisdiction of the board."
First of all I would like to know what that phrase means, if it has any specific legal meaning. Secondly, does that opening sentence mean that indeed the courts of the land have the right to review any excessive jurisdiction of the board? I think that is a very key point, because the whole thrust of these amendments, collectively, most of them, is to take more and more power away from the courts and give more power to the Labour Relations Board.
One has to ask to what degree do the courts of the land have any power left to review the actions of the Labour Relations Board, particularly in light of the possibility of it exceeding its jurisdiction.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, the courts do not have the right to review the board's decisions or the board's jurisdiction, with the exception of those questions relating to constitutionality. I indicated yesterday that the Legislature, this agency, really must be the final review mechanism for the Labour Relations Board, and under those circumstances I think that we must and can stay in very close touch in terms of monitoring the kind of decisions and kind of administrative mechanisms and the kind of administrative jurisprudence which the board develops. I think we must remain sensitive to that, and I'm sure this Legislature is capable of so doing.
MR. C.S. GABELMANN (North Vancouver–Seymour): The House will be glad to know that I only have about two hours' worth of notes on this section, but I will be as brief as I can.
Obviously section 8 of the amending bill is the crux of the matter. It is the section of the Act that prompted me to speak out against it yesterday. The Member for Richmond (Mr. Steves) clearly covered that and I don't intend now to repeat the comments made yesterday, except to say that I believe that the provisions granted in this section allow the labour board far more power than I would be prepared to grant to them.
I think, in effect — and in a sense this follows through with what the Member for Oak Bay (Mr. Wallace) was talking about — in effect this makes a labour court out of the Labour Relations Board and that is a philosophy to which I am unalterably opposed, quite frankly.
I just want to say — and very briefly, I will only be a minute — I think there are philosophical differences on this side of the House concerning these kinds of questions. All of us who are socialists really desire a different kind of world, and if that kind of world existed we wouldn't be here debating this kind of legislation because there probably wouldn't be a need for trade unions either in that kind of world. Trade unions are nothing more than a result and a product of capitalism and they are designed to protect people in the face of the excesses of capitalism.
As a result of that kind of philosophy that I believe, the fact that society isn't the kind of society I want, we have to kind of compromises our approaches and try and make the best of what is a bad world, in my view.
Within that world there are conflicting philosophies. There is what I would call the Tory point of view, which is to leave things alone as much as possible, a non-interference kind of role in society, and there is what I would call the Liberal approach, which is to be as involved as you can. I think that is
[ Page 4056 ]
basically the difference between the philosophical Liberal and the philosophical Tory.
On labour issues in this society, Mr. Chairman, I'm a philosophical Tory. I make no bones about that; I'm a philosophical Tory on this issue. A philosophical Tory on this kind of issue argues that there should be as little interference as possible between the parties. Curiously enough both sides in the matter agree, Both labour and management do not like this kind of section because they share that philosophical Tory point of view when it comes to dealing with labour relations in a capitalist world.
I'll say no more than that, except to say that I believe the direction that the Minister is taking the code, the direction that we as a government are pursuing in labour relations, is philosophically the Liberal direction, and it's a direction that I am unalterably opposed to.
Section 8 as amended approved.
On section 9.
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper. (See appendix.)
Section 9 as amended approved.
On section 10.
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper, Mr. Chairman. (See appendix.)
Section 10 as amended approved.
On section 11.
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper, Mr. Chairman. (See appendix.)
Section 11 as amended approved.
On section 12.
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing under my name on the order paper, Mr. Chairman. (See appendix.)
On section 12 as amended.
MR. GABELMANN: Mr. Chairman, without going into detail, the same kinds of comments that I was making in principle and on section 8 apply to section 12. It gives the board what I see as a potential of unlimited power to eliminate collective agreements if they so desire, the discretionary power to create councils of unions. In my view, councils of unions or councils of management groups should only happen on a voluntary basis when it happens, and with the complete wishes of the parties involved. The government, in my view, has no business being involved in that kind of issue.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I've heard a great deal about the philosophy of industrial relations from my colleague from North Vancouver–Seymour. But again I'd just like to reiterate that the trade union movement can't have it two ways, any more than the Member for North Vancouver–Seymour can.
You can't have regulation of those things that you feel are desirable from one point of view alone. There have to be rules to this game, and those rules must be equitable in law. That doesn't imply that there is complete equity in terms of economics, not by any means. But if the trade union movement is going to be consistent in that regard, perhaps we should be looking at a whole variety of things in terms of pulling back from government intervention in the field of industrial relations.
There are nations that still function without any of the processes of certification, which eliminates the whole question of unfair labour practice charges, and which gets much of the functions of the boards out of the picture altogether. But, you know, I haven't heard anyone in the trade union movement saying to me: "Look, we'll function with the voluntary cooperation of the workers, and we'll set the system through a voluntary arrangement in terms of the bargaining position with management." So when the parties both seek laws to regulate the structure and the system, then they have to understand that they can't have it all their own way. What one party may view as equitable is certainly not going to be consistent with what their adversary in this system, which is an adversary system, considered to be equitable and just. Nor, indeed, is it going to be considered equitable, whether or not we hang philosophical tags on it in terms of the third party which is the government and the agencies charged with administering the system.
I'm finding diverse conflict between the stories that come forward from a variety of the players, despite some philosophy enunciated and regardless from which quarters. So that's the reality of day-to-day functions that have to go on.
I do not see this as a labour court. I am not trying to develop something that is a legalistic nightmare in terms of replacing the courts in that way. But I
[ Page 4057 ]
remind everyone that you cannot insulate regulation of industrial relations from the courts without attempting to plug many of those loopholes which would otherwise allow, by default, many of these questions and much of the regulation to revert back to the courts. I say that if the trade union movement is consistent in terms of the demands that they made for many, many years — that the courts and the injunctions and the sanctions and the penalties be removed from industrial relations — then they had better be prepared to understand that they can't leave that system to flourish in a vacuum. There has to be an alternative to the court system, or it automatically reverts to the courts. I think that should be clearly understood.
I do not want to be accused…and I reject completely that this is a drift toward a labour court, bound and motivated by some philosophical liberalism or conservatism or anything else. It is practical, common sense in terms of the problem we are faced and confronted with.
MR. GABELMANN: There is no problem in my mind that the Minister and I have a difference in agreement about this. It is a fundamental difference and I suspect we won't be together on it.
The fact is that certainly different groups within the trade union movement, different groups within the community, ask for different things at different times, attempting to protect themselves. You can't deal with the philosophical question when you are dealing with trade union matters on a day-to-day basis, so what happens is that you end up asking for the thing you need within the current context of laws in this society. As a result of that, you quite often ask for things that are contradictory to your basic philosophy. That is a fact of life in this society, and we are going to have to accept that.
I just want to make sure the Minister understands that I am speaking from my own point of view in this debate. The implication that it is otherwise is rejected by me.
The question about it being a labour court. I would like all of us to look again at Bill 84, page 8, section 12(5), where it says: "The board may make such orders and issue such directions as it may in its discretion consider necessary or advisable respecting the formation of councils of trade unions and considering the fair representation of the trade unions comprising the council."
It then goes on to say what the board can do once it certifies a council of trade unions; it can find out various things. Fair enough. It then says, "For example, it can extend the provisions of one or more collective agreements that are in effect to all or any of the employees." I have just picked out one of the sections in here.
This amending bill will give the Labour Relations Board the power to tell a group of workers that another group of workers' contract is the one that will apply to them. If that isn't the function of a labour court, as I understand what a labour court is, then I don't know what is. The Minister talks about it reverting to the courts if this kind of thing isn't put into this bill. Frankly, I would rather have it revert to the courts than to have the Labour Relations Board have this kind of authority.
My philosophical position on the question of courts being involved in labour relations is clear: I don't think courts should be involved in labour relations. But in fact, they are, under this code. That is the point that I am unable to make many of my colleagues understand. The fact is, just because it is not the Supreme Court of British Columbia with judges who are appointed by the federal government, instead it is a Labour Relations Board with judges appointed by the provincial government, who all don't have to have law degrees, even though many of them do, doesn't make it not a labour court. The fact is: it is a labour court. The fact is: it has more powers than the court system ever had.
AN HON. MEMBER: That's the first time I have ever agreed with you.
MR. GABELMANN: I said those kinds of things in the debate on Bill 11. I expressed my view then — perhaps I didn't express them as forcibly as I do now. I was a little green in the House in those days and I didn't have as much confidence on my feet as I do now. But I am angry; I am upset; and I am disturbed by this entire section.
Mr. Chairman, I will say it again and the Minister will deny it: it is a labour court. I can say it in no other way.
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, the Member hangs his hat fairly heavily on sections 57 and 58 of the code, which are amended slightly in this section. Nevertheless, those sections have been in the Labour Code since its inception. It is true that the Member for North Vancouver–Seymour opposed those sections which relate to the authority of my office to impose a council of trade unions. I have a great deal of sympathy for the concern expressed by the Member, and the concern expressed by the trade union movement, because that is a compulsive power.
I don't like compulsory powers in terms of industrial relations. But I said to the trade union movement, quite a number of times over the past few years, that it is fine to mouth these philosophical approaches to things, but if you are going to do that, then the trade union movement must be pretty consistent. It is not consistent, in my view, with the philosophy, the principles and the traditions of the trade union movement to allow fragmentation of
[ Page 4058 ]
units to the extent where small units of 20 or 30 people can pull down the total industry composed of 6,000 workers, put them out of work for six weeks — only to find a solution and then another couple of workers in a small unit, initiate the same kind of process.
I say that's irresponsible. I say that's not in the best interests of the trade union movement. I say they are not serving their members' interests when they allow that to happen, and I say that I, as Minister of Labour, am not going to let it happen. So I introduced sections 57 and 58 so that I would have a response to that kind of conduct which I think is pretty irresponsible, and which unfortunately has happened.
Recently I said to the B.C. Federation of Labour that the day you can go out and find a solution to that kind of problem and assure me that there's some remedy you have, be it an internal remedy or be it a legislative remedy that assures me the trade union movement is not going to allow that kind of conduct to continue, that will be the day I withdraw sections 57 and 58 from the Labour code.
AN HON. MEMBER: Hear, hear!
HON. MR. KING: I certainly do not like compulsory measures. But there are times, when confronted with that kind of situation, that you need to have something to respond with. I say that if the trade union movement is prepared to put me with my back to the wall in terms of that kind of situation, then I intend to respond. My philosophy, as well-meaning as it is and as strong as it is, has to reflect reality also in terms of the kind of treatment and the kind of conduct I have to deal with. So that should be made very clear. I do want to stress and re-emphasize that those sections are hardly, in my view, a very inherent part of the sections and the amendments that are before the House today. They've been there for some time.
MR. GABELMANN: I'll just pursue the question briefly, Mr. Chairman. I'm sorry to delay the House, but for me this is probably the most important debate we've had since Bill 11, and just because we're winding down doesn't mean that I should give up my time.
Mr. Chairman, I disagree with the Minister, and he and I have had that disagreement for some time.
I think the trade union movement has proven time and time again that it believes in rationalizing its structures. The congress policy is clear; the federation policy is clear. But I don't think that the Minister should argue with me in this House on the basis of dealing with my comments as if they were the comments of the trade union. My comments in this House are based on my philosophy of labour relations. Certainly I have a history of involvement with the trade union movement and I am proud of it, but I've been involved in that trade union movement because of my own philosophy. It doesn't work the other way around.
The fact is that a small group, maybe half-a-dozen office workers, can shut down a mill with 6,000 people, that's right. But do you know what happens on the other side of the spectrum that this government doesn't do anything about? Price-fixing.
Safeway and Super-Valu can go in and determine whatever their prices are going to be, and we don't do anything about that.
MR. GABELMANN: Price-fixing happens all the time. Well, the federal Combines Act is worthless.
I want to make the point that what we tend to do in this society is to penalize workers. We never tend to penalize employers. The fact is that in this case we are denying the….
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please! Would the Hon. Member for South Peace River (Mr. Phillips) be quiet?
MR. GABELMANN: We are denying the effective bargaining power of some groups of worker if this section is used, but we never seem to do that on the other side of the coin. I'm getting tired of having the workers having to face the questions first. Why is it that the working class always has to be in the forefront of legislative change? Why can't we pick on the companies first once in a while?
MR. STEVES: Well, Mr. Chairman, it probably comes to those employers, but I find this section very distasteful, as well as does the Member who has just spoken.
I find it very distasteful in the first place to be calling for compulsory certification of the Council of Trade Unions and this section does expand those powers to some degree. In the old Act it didn't really spell out that the Labour Relations Board, in the way it's done here, could alter at will the constitution and bylaws of trade unions and write new collective agreements. That wasn't spelled out. This is now emphasized with words like "orders, direction, formations, settle such new terms and conditions," and so on.
Then finally in part (f) of section 57(6) they can do anything else they want as may be necessary or advisable to carry out the purposes of this section. Anything else they want. "Any such order to determine as it may be necessary," it says. Now this, I
[ Page 4059 ]
think, gives them some pretty sweeping powers and I find it very, very distasteful.
Now the Minister mentioned that there may be 6,000 workers held up because 30 or 40 workers in a small unit may go out on strike. Well, I don't know what case he's referring to there. The only case I know of was with the firemen. We had a situation with the firemen where we had one-third of the workers out on strike while two-thirds had settled, so it wasn't that vast difference.
In the case of the firemen, and I didn't really intend to get into this dispute because it's an old one, I have worked with the firemen in my area for the last five or six years and was on the fire committee of the Richmond council, and so on, and helped them set up their original collective agreements over the years. In their case, actually I think they had a just case, and we interfered into a strike situation by bringing in this legislation and forcing them to join in a compulsory way into the Council of Trade Unions.
Now the Minister has suggested that if labour were to show that they would do things voluntarily we wouldn't need this legislation. Well, I'm suggesting to you that in this instance, and this is the only example I know of where this legislation has been necessary so far, the Council of Trade Unions was not necessary. It was a strike situation, and those powers were not necessary. In effect, we were using this as a tool to settle this strike — this compulsory trade union council system as a tool in settling the strike.
Where the firemen were out on strike for a basic socialist principle of equal pay — the Vancouver firemen had settled for higher wages for the captains and lower wages for the men — the Richmond firemen and Delta and Coquitlam and so on did not want to have that increased wage difference between the working man and the captains, and resettled in favour of the captains in the Vancouver area and forced them all into one collective agreement. Then what happened was that they had all kinds of problems over the ensuing year. Because they had different collective agreements — the suburban firemen had a lot of benefits in many areas, dental plans and so on — than the city firemen, we ended up with the board having to come in and impose a settlement on all of them. As it turned out, as I understand it, even the city firemen ended up being not too happy with the processes that went on in determining what their collective agreement under the trade union council would be.
So I find this clause very distasteful, and I just can't support it.
MS. R. BROWN (Vancouver-Burrard): I was very interested in the Minister's statement that he is against compulsion. I know he is. I accept his word for it, because everybody in the trade union movement is against it.
Also I was interested in his statement that he has said to the B.C. Federation of Labour and to the trade union movement in general that if they can come up with a solution to this kind of dilemma, he would be willing to withdraw this section of the bill.
Now one of the things that a number of people — the leadership as well as the rank and file — in the trade union movement have been saying to us is that they really would like some time to come up with some of these kinds of solutions. Isn't this then a good opportunity to give them that time that they are asking for, to see whether they really can, working together with the department, come up with the kind of solution which both the Minister and the trade unions would approve of to this kind of dilemma?
Section 12 as amended approved.
On section 13.
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper, Mr. Chairman. (See appendix. )
Sections 13 and 13A as amended approved.
On section 14.
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper. (See appendix.)
On section 14 as amended.
MR. GIBSON: I just want to say to the Minister that I think this amendment is a real step forward in this section.
MR. STEVES: This one, I feel, instead of having the power handled by the Legislature, gives the power to the board to set up these collective agreements. I feel that by handing them these powers we may see the kind of thing happening more often. I think when you bring the Legislature into session to deal with something like this, it is only done in very serious circumstances. By giving the power to the board it takes it from the Legislature and we give it to a third party, an outside power, which I think is wrong.
Section 14 as amended approved.
Sections 15 to 20 inclusive approved.
On section 21.
[ Page 4060 ]
HON. MR. KING: I move the amendment standing in my name on the order paper, Mr. Chairman. (See appendix.)
Section 21 as amended approved.
On section 22.
Section 22 as amended approved.
Sections 23 to 25 inclusive approved.
On section 26.
Section 26 as amended approved.
On section 27.
Section 27 as amended approved.
Sections 28 to 30 inclusive approved.
On section 31.
Section 31 as amended approved.
On section 32.
Section 32 as amended approved.
On section 33.
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, retroactive legislation is always a very serious thing, and I would ask the Minister to give us a bit of justification as to why the House should agree in this case. He mentioned earlier on three court actions. I think it was three court actions that are pending. I would ask him to describe how those events could be sufficiently serious that this House has to reach back and change the law retroactively which, in principle, is a very bad thing to do.
HON. MR. KING: Well, Mr. Chairman, I've already stated what the position of the department is and has been with respect to the question of industrial relations officers being called upon. In terms of the date, that was the date of proclamation of the code. It meant that was the intent of the code, and we are seeking to clarify that in a retroactive way so there's no doubt about what the intent is.
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: Could the Minister indicate whether the three court actions deal with proceedings of the board not involving hearings between disputing parties?
MR. L.A. WILLIAMS: The question, Mr. Chairman, was to the Minister: are the three court actions related to proceedings of the board, which did not arise out of hearings between disputing parties?
HON. MR. KING: I'm informed that they relate to charges that there was a denial of natural justice before hearings in terms of not providing the information contained in the IRO's reports. But the real concern of the department, in terms of going back, is that conceivably if those cases succeeded, then every single case that has been determined by the board in the interim could be attacked on the same grounds that there was indeed a denial of natural justice, and every case that has been adjudicated by the board would be in jeopardy.
MR. GIBSON: Mr. Chairman, I would ask the Minister if in fact the courts found in any of these three cases that there was a denial of natural justice, if that wouldn't be a matter of some concern to him?
HON. MR. KING: Yes.
Section 33 approved.
[ Page 4061 ]
HON. MR. KING: Mr. Chairman, I move that the committee rise and report the bill complete with amendments.
The House resumed, Mr. Speaker in the chair.
Bill 84, Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1975, reported complete with amendments.
MR. SPEAKER: When shall the bill be considered as reported?
HON. MR. KING: By leave, now Mr. Speaker.
Bill 84, Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1975, read a third time and passed.
HON. MRS. DAILLY: Committee on Bill 142, Mr. Speaker.
MISCELLANEOUS STATUTES AMENDMENT
The House in committee on Bill 142; Mr. Dent in the chair.
On section 11.
MR. McCLELLAND: Mr. Chairman, this is a pretty important amendment, giving the government some wide-ranging powers. But before we get into that, I'd like to just ask the advice of the Chair. Section 11 is to amend section 3(2) of the Social Assistance Act by adding a new subsection (g) giving the Minister authority to fix the rate being charged by any persons, groups or associations, and further, this amendment is retroactive to May 27, 1974. Now looking at the history of this section, and I know the way it's printed in the statute books, Mr. Chairman, but I have a feeling that somebody may have made a mistake, and I'd just like to have your advice on this.
Since 1960's consolidation, there were two amendments to this section. The first was in 1972. It's chapter 57 and it sets out briefly what the Minister, in his discretion could do: determine the eligibility of persons for social assistance, fix the rate or amount of social assistance for those persons, and discontinue, reduce or increase the rate — and it goes on to give some other reasons.
Then another amendment came along in 1973, which was chapter 81 in the statute book. Section 3 was repealed and the new section was enacted, subject to proclamation. The new section says that section 3 of the Social Assistance Act is repealed and the following is substituted: "(3) Social assistance shall be granted pursuant to the regulations out of the funds appropriated by the Legislature for the purpose to individuals, whether adult or minor, or to families who are unable to provide in whole or in part for their livelihood." That was proclaimed on April 1, 1975, this year, by an order-in-council, published in the British Columbia Gazette on April 15.
The interesting feature of all of this is that the proposed amendment in section 11 is attempting to amend the 1972 amendment, which was itself repealed in 1973.
What we're being asked to do here is to amend a repealed section, A section which doesn't exist. I'd just like your ruling on that because if that's true then we'd better start all over again, Mr. Chairman.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair would make this remark — that if there is an error in the drafting of this particular section number and section, then the legislative counsel and the law clerk have the authority to ensure that the proper numbering is done when the Act….
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, it's not a question of numbering, Mr. Chairman. It's a question of the committee asking us to amend a section which doesn't exist, period. It was repealed in 1973.
MR. CHAIRMAN: This is the only advice that the Chair can give. Shall section 11 pass?
SOME HON. MEMBERS: Oh, oh!
MR. McCLELLAND: Well, Mr. Chairman, just a moment; on a point of order!
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair has made the remark that if there is an error….
MR. McCLELLAND: The Provincial Secretary (Hon. Mr. Hall) has indicated that I might be correct.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Order, please!
HON. MR. HALL: I didn't indicate you were correct. I'm indicating the Chairman, perhaps, should hold….
MR. McCLELLAND: Yes, right. I think so, Mr. Chairman. On a point of order, we should hold it.
MR. CHAIRMAN: The Chair will happily pause for a moment while the matter is considered.
[ Page 4062 ]
HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Chairman, I wonder as I'm in charge of the passage of this bill, if you would stand this section down?
Sections 12 to 15 inclusive approved.
MR. CHAIRMAN: We'll pause for a moment while we consult our counsel. (Laughter.)
HON. MR. HALL: Obviously the bill passed rather frequently and we haven't had an opportunity to check with legislative counsel. I therefore move the committee rise, report some progress and ask leave to sit at the call of the House leader.
HON. MR. HALL: Are you actually interested in solving your Member's query or not? It's as simple as that, really.
AN HON. MEMBER: Yes, sure.
MR. CHAIRMAN: Mr. Speaker, the committee reports progress and asks leave to sit again at the call of the House leader.
HON. MR. HALL: Mr. Speaker, I move by leave of the House, that the order for second reading of Bill 61 be discharged and the bill dropped from the order paper.
Hon. Mrs. Dailly moves adjournment of the House.
The House adjourned at 5:48 p.m.
84 The Hon. W. S. King to move, in Committee of the Whole on Bill (No. 84) intituled Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1975, to amend as follows:
By deleting section 3 and substituting the following:
"3. Section 4 is amended by repealing subsections (2) and (3) and substituting the following:
"(2) Where, in an application in writing to the Board, a trade-union declares that it intends, for the purposes of section 39 (1), to attempt to persuade the employees of a unit to join a trade-union, the board may direct either
(a) that the employer of those employees shall not, for a period
not exceeding 30 days, without the written permission of the board, increase
or decrease the rates of pay, or alter any term or condition of employment of
the employees of the intended unit,
"(b) that the employer of those employees
deliver to the trade-union a complete list of the names, addresses, and telephone
numbers of the employees in the intended unit,
or both, as requested by the trade-union.
"(3) A direction of the board under subsection (2) (a) does not prevent an employer from dismissing an employee for just and reasonable cause."
Section 8 re-enacting section 28 (1) (b), lines 2 and 3: By deleting ", a collective agreement, ".
Section 8 re-enacting section 28: By deleting subsection (1) (f) and substituting the following:
"(f) make such other order or proceed in such other manner under this Act, consistent with section 27, as the board considers appropriate in all the circumstances."
[ Page 4063 ]
Section 8 re-enacting section 31 (b), line 2: By deleting "exclusive".
By deleting section 9.
By inserting the following after section 10 of the Bill:
"S. 53 (1).
"10A. Section 53 (1) is amended by striking out 'Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, where' and substituting 'where'."
Section 11 enacting section 53 (3) (d), line 2: By deleting "and define the" and substituting "in order to define the seniority".
Section 12 re-enacting section 57 (5), line 3: By deleting "considering".
By inserting the following after section 13 of the Bill:
"13A. Section 65 (1) is amended by striking out 'an offence against this Act' and substituting 'a contravention of this Act'."
Section 14 amending section 73 (7) (b), line 3: By inserting "the board" after "health or safety and".
Section 21 re-enacting section 90 (2), lines 1 and 3: By deleting "deeming" and by inserting "deemed to be" after "combination is".
Section 22 re-enacting section 92 (3), line 3: By inserting "under the terms of the collective agreement" after "thereto".
Section 22 re-enacting section 93 (1), line 4: By adding at the end "; but nothing in this section shall prohibit the parties to a collective agreement from including therein a different provision for employment of certain employees on a probationary basis."
Section 26 re-enacting section 98: By inserting "and" at the end of paragraph (f), by deleting paragraph (g), and by relettering the present paragraph (h) as paragraph (g).
Section 27 of the Bill is renumbered as subsection (1) and the following is added as subsection (2):
"(2) Sections 106 to 109, as re-enacted by subsection (1), do not apply to a decision or award of an arbitration board issued prior to the coming into force of this section."
By inserting the following after section 27 of the Bill:
"27A. Section 127 (3) is amended by inserting 'or tribunal' after 'required by any court'."
By inserting the following after section 31 of the Bill:
"31A. Section 149 is amended by striking out 'defects or irregularities' and substituting 'defects, irregularities, or errors of procedure'."
Section 32 enacting section 152A: By deleting subsection (1) and substituting the following:
"152A. (1) A person who would be excluded from a unit of employees, for which a trade-union is certified as bargaining agent, by reason of subparagraph (iii) of the definition of employee in section 1 as it stood immediately before the coming into force of this section, shall, notwithstanding the repeal of subparagraph (iii) of the definition of employee in section 1 by section 1 of the Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1975, be deemed not to be included in the unit unless the board otherwise orders under subsection (2)."
[ Page 4064 ]
84 Mr. Wallace to move, in Committee of the Whole on Bill (No. 84) intituled Labour Code of British Columbia Amendment Act, 1975, to amend as follows:
Section 3, line 9 of the proposed new section 3: After the words "intended unit" add the words "but nothing in this subsection shall be construed as affecting the right of an employer to suspend, transfer, lay off, discharge, or discipline an employee for proper cause,".
Section 3, line 13 of the proposed new section 3: After the words "intended unit" add the words "with the written permission of each employee,".
Section 7, line 7 of the proposed new section 7: To delete all of the words after "contents of a report" and substitute "and such report, or the summary thereof, shall be disclosed to the parties."
Section 8: To amend the proposed new section 32 (4) by deleting that section and replacing it with the following:
"Nothing in this Act shall be construed to restrict or limit the jurisdiction of a Court of competent jurisdiction to award damages for injury or loss suffered as a consequence of conduct that is in contravention of Part V."
Section 33, line 1: After the words "exclusive jurisdiction" to delete the words "to determine the extent of its jurisdiction".
Section 18: The amendment is to delete the proposed new subsection (3) in its entirety.
Section 22, line 3 of the proposed new section 93 (1): To delete the words following "a just and reasonable cause" and substitute the words "for the discipline of an employee or the dismissal of an employee who has been employed longer than three months."
Section 22: To amend section 93 (3) (a) of the proposed new section by deleting it and substituting the following:
"The employer shall not discipline an employee bound by this agreement except for just and reasonable cause and shall not dismiss an employee bound by this agreement and who has been employed for longer than three months except for just and reasonable cause."