Thank you for the question.
First, the key labour organizations, including the Canadian Labour Congress, criticized Bill C-377 on the basis that it would upset the existing labour relations balance between unions and employers by requiring unions to publicly disclose key financial information, including the strike fund, without requiring employers to reciprocate. Second, it creates unnecessary and redundant financial disclosure obligations, since union financial disclosure is already addressed in the Canada Labour Code and in many provincial labour statutes. Third, the bill is biased against unions and ignores other types of organizations, such as professional associations, which also receive favourable treatment under tax law. Finally, the bill invades the privacy of labour organizations and their members.
Several labour organizations indicated their intention to challenge the provisions enacted by Bill C-377 on constitutional grounds. The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, AUPE, has launched a constitutional challenge to Bill C-377, which is before the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench. Due to the government's stated intention to repeal the Income Tax Act provisions enacted by the bill, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees has agreed to adjourn the application without any further dates for hearings being set.
The Canadian Bar Association, not normally known to be particularly heavily unionized, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner raised concerns that Bill C-377 could breach individual privacy rights. The Bar Association suggested the bill may be subject to legal challenges on these grounds. Many provinces—Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I.—allege that Bill C-377 was potentially unconstitutional by encroaching upon provincial jurisdiction over labour issues. British Columbia did support the bill.
Some business organizations, such as the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, and Merit Canada, did express support for Bill C-377. Market-orientated think tanks like the Fraser Institute and the Montreal Economic Institute had previously expressed support for expanding statutory union financial disclosure requirements.