OTTAWA — The Trudeau government has accepted some — but not all — Senate amendments to a bill that would allow the Mounties to form a union.
Most significantly, it has agreed to remove all restrictions on what may be included in collective agreements and arbitration awards.
That means issues such as harassment, transfers, appointments and appraisals of RCMP members will no longer be excluded from collective bargaining.
Mounties march off the parade grounds following the RCMP National Memorial Service in Regina Sunday, September 12, 2010. (Photo: Mark Taylor/The Canadian Press)
Exclusion of those issues in the original Bill C-7 had sparked considerable controversy.
However, the Liberal government has rejected a Senate amendment which would have required any future vote on certification of an RCMP union to be done by secret ballot — a measure favoured by the Conservatives.
The government's response to the Senate's amendments comes almost a full year after the upper house scrapped the most controversial elements of the bill.
"The government has considered the Senate's amendments to Bill C-7 and meaningfully addressed their concerns," Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement Friday.
"At the same time, we have ensured the operational integrity of the RCMP as a police service and demonstrated our continued commitment to protecting the safety and security of Canadians."
Mounties can't go on strike
Since the government has not accepted all the Senate's amendments, the bill will have to go back to the upper house for senators to accept or reject the government's latest version of the legislation.
The bill would allow RCMP members to choose whether to be represented by a union.
However, the Mounties would not be allowed to go on strike. Any impasse in collective bargaining would be resolved by binding arbitration.