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Alberta Kenney government to introduce bill allowing Alberta to override public-sector union deals

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews, seen during his swearing-in ceremony in Edmonton on April 30, 2019, has already said all options are on the table as he and his staff work to find savings to eradicate Alberta’s annual multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

JASON FRANSON/The Canadian Press

The Alberta government has served notice it will bring in legislation to allow the province to override bargained contract agreements and delay wage talks for thousands of public-sector workers.

Government House Leader Jason Nixon told the legislature the United Conservatives will introduce the bill soon.

Delaying binding arbitration on wages would affect nurses, conservation officers, peace officers, hospital support staff, administrators and librarians.

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Finance Minister Travis Toews has already said all options are on the table as he and his staff work to find savings to eradicate Alberta’s annual multibillion-dollar budget deficits.

The government wants a delay until a panel submits its report in August on the best way to save the province money.

Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley accused Toews during Question Period today of committing a “gross abuse of power” by using legislation to avoid fulfilling the terms of contracts negotiated in good faith.

Toews replied that the government respects the work of public-sector staff and believes it is doing what’s in the best interests of the province.

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