Bill C-7: A better labour relations regime for the RCMP
The bill creates a new labour relations framework for RCMP members and reservists, including a collective bargaining model tailored to the force.
In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 6-1 that the internal system for labour negotiations at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) violated the members’ constitutionally protected freedom of association. The force has 29,000 employees. The Government responded to the court’s ruling with Bill C-7, which sought to balance organizational interests with individuals’ rights to collective bargaining.
The Senate’s Role
Independent Senator Larry Campbell sponsored Bill C-7 in the Senate and worked with hard-nosed determination to get the bill right. Sen. Campbell knew the RCMP first hand, having served on its drug squad in the early 1970s. He later joined the Vancouver District Coroner’s office, became B.C.’s Chief Coroner and was elected mayor of Vancouver. In the course of its review, the Senate proposed a series of amendments to Bill C-7. Notably, with Sen. Campbell’s support, the Senate proposed expanding the scope of issues that could be subject to collective bargaining and adopting a more targeted management rights clause.
The Government agreed to broaden the scope of collective bargaining and adopted a more targeted management rights clause. The final bill passed in May 2017. Compared to the original bill, the final bill, now law, more fully realized RCMP members’ freedom of association. Because of the Senate’s changes, issues subject to collective bargaining may now include matters commonly associated with harassment and workplace wellness, appointments and appraisals, and measures to mitigate the impact of discharges and demotions of RCMP members.
Upon the bill becoming law, two Newfoundland RCMP officers reportedly remarked of Sen. Campbell: “You the man, Larry.”