NEWS
08/20/2014 05:30 EDT | Updated 10/20/2014 05:59 EDT

Bill 3 hearings on pension reform begin today in Quebec City

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said security measures will be in place today at the National Assembly to ensure the hearings into Bill 3 go on peacefully and democratically.

Representatives from four major unions in Quebec are scheduled to speak at the hearings this afternoon between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“People should act responsibly. Of course authorities will take the measures that are needed in terms of security, but it’s up to the unions and their leaders to decide how they will behave and communicate,” said Couillard.

His message comes after hundreds of municipal workers in Montreal stormed City Hall Monday evening minutes prior to a council meeting.

“I’ve been somewhat disappointed by the lack of frank condemnation by the union leaders viz-à-viz what happened [Monday].”

The hearings begin at 9:30 a.m., with representatives from the cities of Quebec and Montreal presenting first.

Union leaders will speak in the afternoon. The province’s largest labour federation, the FTQ, will present at 3 p.m.

Presentations will also be made by representatives from the Quebec City Association of Retired Personnel and the last to present a brief on the first day of hearings will be the CSN — another one of Quebec’s largest unions.

Bill 3 was tabled in the National Assembly in June as a way for the province to make up for municipal pension plan deficits that totals almost $4 billion.

The proposed reform would force municipal workers to shoulder part of the shortfall.

Since then, city workers have held numerous protests, including dressing-down, calling in sick en masse and holding rallies. About 80 Montreal firefighters also took early retirement after Bill 3 was tabled as a way to protect their pensions.

The five days of hearings in Quebec City are scheduled to wrap up Tuesday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m.