OTTAWA, ON December 13, 2012 – Bill C-377, which would require unions to provide detailed annual filings to the Canada Revenue Agency, including the portion of revenue devoted to political and social activism, passed in the House of Commons December 12. MP Russ Hiebert, who introduced the bill, said he believes unions should be subject to the same public reporting requirements as charities since union dues are tax-exempt.
The League supports the aspect of the bill requiring unions to report on how much of members’ mandatory dues are being spent on social and political activism. Over the past decade, many unions have devoted time and money to the strident promotion of political issues with strong religious and moral overtones, including same sex marriage and abortion. The League has assisted union members who have attempted to divert their union dues to charity because of such activism, but the diversion has not been permitted.
Mandatory membership in a union should not require a member to support causes to which he or she is opposed on religious grounds. By requiring unions to show how much money has been spent on activism, Bill C-377 could be a significant step in giving employees a greater say in how their dues are spent.