The Voice of Multi-Employer Plan Interests in Canada


If passed, Bill C-377—An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (requirements for labour organizations)—will require all plans that pay benefits to union members to make details of any pension and benefit payments exceeding $5,000 each year publicly available. This means that plans will have to name mem- bers and beneficiaries who receive payments in excess of this threshold, including pension payments (i.e., monthly pensions, lump-sum termination, death payments) as well as those receiv- ing disability income, significant drug benefits, or other major services or treatments.

The stated intention of Bill C-377 is to make union fi- nances more transparent, given the tax deductibility of union dues and the tax-exempt status of labour organizations. How- ever, the bill will impose unprecedented disclosure require- ments far surpassing those placed on government agencies and other organizations that receive preferential tax treat- ment, such as registered charities and Canada’s First Nations.

In the absence of major revisions to the bill, it will also increase the vulnerability of individual benefit recipients, whose names, addresses and personal finances will become a matter of public record.

Introduced as a private member’s bill by Conservative Member of Parliament Russ Hiebert (South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale), Bill C-377 passed first reading in the House of Commons in December 2011 and had its second reading in February 2012. It has now been referred to the Standing Committee on Finance. As a private member’s bill, it’s not clear whether the legislation is backed by the Conser- vative government.

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  1. The threat to multi-employer plans is real.
    The legislative framework is constantly changing, and cost-management and cost reduction are at the top of every agenda.
  2. Legislative changes can be significant.
    Recent proposed changes have threatened to offload costs onto plans, restrict plan coverage, and have compromised the viability of some plans
  3. Multi-employer plans are worth protecting.
    Multi-employer plans play a vital role in providing health services and retirement plans to over 1 million workers and their families in industries typified by small companies and a mobile work force.
  4. Multi-employer plans need a united lobby.
    Multi-employer plans carry a low profile due to the fact that the coverage is thinly spread over many employer groups and mobile workers.
  5. MEBCO is committed to protecting your interests.
    When governments propose changes, MEBCO is the single, clear voice at the table representing the unique interests of multi-employer plans.