June 25, 2019
Bill 9: The Public Sector Wage Arbitration Deferral Act (“Bill 9”) received third reading in Alberta’s legislature on June 19, 2019. Bill 9 will suspend any wage re-opener arbitration proceedings between various public employers (listed in the Bill) and unions from the date of pronouncement until October 31, 2019.
For those public employers whom have negotiated wage re-opener language in existing collective agreements, Bill 9 will prevent any arbitration from occurring until, at earliest, November 1, 2019. Employers affected include the Government of Alberta, Alberta Health Services, school authorities, and a number of post-secondary institutions.
The purpose of the Bill is to allow the government to review the Blue Ribbon Panel Report prior to negotiating public sector wages. This report, conducted by an independent panel tasked with reviewing and making recommendations concerning balancing Alberta’s budget, is expected to be completed by August 15, 2019.
The Bill has already been the subject of considerable discussion and debate. Various unions, seemingly unhappy with this slight delay, and apparently unconcerned with the further expenditure of public funds, have announced an intention to challenge the legislation in court should the Bill pass.
We will keep you updated on the status of Bill 9 as the situation develops.
A copy of Bill 9 can be found here.
If you have any questions regarding the impact of any upcoming changes to Alberta’s workplace laws, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.