Teamster representatives pictured with MPs. From left to right: Phil Benson (Lobbyist, Teamsters Canda), Greg Furgus (Liberal, Hull—Aylmer), Stéphane Lacoste (General Counsel, Teamsters Canada), Wayne Easter (Liberal, Malpeque).

The Government of Canada announced new measures to better protect federally-regulated workers. The bill includes new paid emergency leave days, scheduling rights, equal pay for temps as well as casual workers, and much more.

Stéphane Lacoste, General Counsel for Teamsters Canada, and Phil Benson, Lobbyist for Teamsters Canada, appeared in Parliament earlier this month to testify on the proposed changes.

Watch their testimony here:

Standing Committee on Finance, Bill C-86 Budget Implementation Act Part 2, November 8, 2018. This video is available without translation.

The changes are a step in the right direction. For example, measures dealing with medical and nursing leave, and provisions giving workers a right to refuse overtime to take care of family responsibilities, are all welcome.

Contract flipping was also addressed. The term refers to a practice by employers of awarding contracts to different service providers every few years. Workers must then re-apply for their jobs, often losing any wage increases and benefits earned under their previous employer.

The issue was only partially dealt with in the new bill for non-union employees. Under the new law, workers rehired by the new employer will have to retain some of their conditions of employment.

Federal Labour Minister Patty Hajdu has already announced that she intends to go further in tackling the issue of contract flipping at airports, which particularly affects Teamster members. Our union will take part in the consultations and demand regulations to preserve workers’ jobs, wages, working conditions, and union representation when a contract flips at an airport.

Finally, Teamsters Canada addressed provisions of the pay equity legislation that were inadequate to ensure equal pay for women performing work of equal value. We called for the deletion of clauses that would leave employers in control of the pay equity process and allow them to evade compliance through claiming the needs of business or through exemptions.

Overall, these changes are positive, and the Teamsters will continue pushing the government to go further to better protect workers.