Following a February ruling in Queen’s Bench Court that found its much-trumpeted Essential Services legislation (Bill 5) to be unconstitutional, the Saskatchewan government embarked on a wide-ranging review of 15 pieces of labour law with the possible goal of formulating one all encompassing labour code. In conducting this review, the government invited a range of stakeholders to make submissions, plus it also developed an online questionnaire that individuals were free to fill out if they wished. Earlier this summer I did an article offering an overview of the process and what the outcome might be.
On Friday, Labour Minister Don Morgan spoke at a North Saskatoon Business Luncheon where he divulged information on changes the government plans to implement. As of this morning, I couldn’t find any information on the Government of Saskatchewan website detailing what those changes might be. So all I can offer is a skimpy CBC report and a Star-Phoenix article that focuses mostly on measures designed to mimic those that already exist in practice in terms of unions being democratically accountable to their members. As well, while the government initially mused about making the payment of union dues optional, it ultimately decided not to tamper with the ability of unions to deduct fees from members’ paychecks to fund the services they provide (the so-called Rand formula). But it is curtailing the ability of unions to fine members who cross a picket line during a strike to work as scabs.
Mere weeks after premier Brad Wall came under criticism for more or less preempting the Throne Speech by outlining his government’s agenda at a Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Saskatoon, it’s unfortunate that Morgan chose to ignore the supposed seat of democratic government in Saskatchewan ie. the Legislature (pictured above); and make his announcement before a private, pro-business crowd in Saskatoon. The optics, as is usual with this government as far as inclusiveness and open consultation go, suck.
According to the Star-Phoenix, draft legislation should be tabled in the Legislature in early December with the goal of having it voted on in the spring session.