“Sunny Ways” – a new reality in collective bargaining?

Dec 01, 2015

It has been over a month since the election and Canada seems clearly in the honeymoon stage for this new government. Most pundits seem to agree that the honeymoon phase will be long and could continue well into next year.

We may be facing a new reality in collective bargaining — the “Sunny Ways”. It does seem likely that the Liberal Government is ready to turn back the clock on the anti-union agenda of its predecessor and return to bargaining in good faith. They have campaigned on repealing or changing most of the controversial anti-unions bills and they seem committed to move forward on these items relatively quickly.

The new Sunny Ways may also extend to how the government deals with the public service. The Liberal Government is looking to change the relationship and have committed to restoring the respect and freedom that a world class public service deserves. They also are looking to work with the federal bargaining agents to restore a collegial relationship.

We are not expecting to be back at the bargaining table with Treasury Board until into the New Year, and we will be approaching this new government with a cautious optimism. The President of Treasury Board, Scott Brison, has already indicated that the cupboards are bare. This position may be supported by the recent fiscal update by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, indicating that the Canadian economy will grow at a slower rate than previously determined, by the outgoing government.

We are hoping for the best, however must prepare for the worst. It is important that we continue to prepare for all potential possibilities. We are not expecting the animosity exhibited by the last government, but its remains a negotiation between the employer and the AJC, your bargaining agent. We may expect good faith bargaining, but it will be hard bargaining nonetheless.

We will continue to give this government some time to develop their mandate and get up to speed on their files. We will also have a better understanding their priorities with the Speech from the Throne on December 4, 2015. This truly will provide the direction of the government for the next four years and will lay out their roadmap.

The Sunny Ways may last for now, but we are committed to our priorities of protecting our members and ensuring that we negotiate the best collective agreement possible.

Your President,

Len MacKay