Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

President of the Treasury Board Tony Clement responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons Thursday, February 19, 2015 in Ottawa.

Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The Conservative government is giving itself new powers in the latest omnibus budget bill to impose controversial sick leave changes to the public service, a move that sets up a battle with federal unions just months before the October election.

The budget bill tabled Thursday, C-59, has 157 numbered pages, which is less than half the size of both budget bills tabled last year. However Thursday's bill continues the pattern of jamming budget bills with a wide-range of substantive measures, including entirely new laws.

Bill C-59 includes the government's long-promised balanced budget legislation, as well as a new law called the Prevention of Terrorist Travel Act, which restricts the release of intelligence used by government to cancel a passport on national security grounds.

Story continues below advertisement

Critics have long opposed the government's approach to omnibus budget bills, arguing that including major new measures all in one bill means that the individual changes do not receive the same thorough Parliamentary scrutiny that they would have received had they been introduced as a piece of standalone legislation.

Unions had already expressed concerns about the government's plans on sick leave when they were first signalled in Finance Minister Joe Oliver's April 21 budget.

Bill C-59 gives the Treasury Board minister the power to ignore provisions of the Public Service Labour Relations Act and unilaterally change the terms and conditions of sick leave in the public service and create a new short-term disability program.

Treasury Board President Tony Clement has said a new sick leave regime was his priority heading into labour negotiations last year with public service bargaining units. The major unions had said they strongly opposed Mr. Clement's proposal.

"Nothing in this [section] affects the right to strike under the Public Service Labour Relations Act," states one section of the budget bill.

"The government has decided to completely throw out any pretense that they intend to respect the collective bargaining rights of its workers," said Robyn Benson, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, the largest union of federal public servants. "This attack on our members' rights will seriously harm public services by forcing people to go to work sick, and cause irreparable damage to labour relations. We will take every available action in our power to challenge the legislation."

Mr. Clement said in a statement that the government is looking to update an "antiquated" sick leave system.

Story continues below advertisement

"The government's overarching goal in these negotiations is to reach agreements on total public service compensation that are fair and reasonable to both the employees and the taxpayer," he said.

Other sections of the bill implement the wide range of tax credits announced in the budget, including repealing the child tax credit, expanding the Universal Child Care Benefit and introducing income splitting for couples in different income brackets.

The bill creates a new "Parliamentary Protective Service," that would place responsibility for security on Parliament Hill in the hands of the RCMP.

The bill also lays out new rules regulating unpaid internships, including that they cannot replace any employee and that the internship must not be a prerequisite to the person being offered employment.

The bill includes sections from the government's two most recent bills, C-57 related to family tax cuts, and C-58, related to veterans benefits. The government is likely doing this to ensure the measures become law before mid-to-late June, when MPs are scheduled to break for summer and are not expected to return before the October election.

The budget bill includes changes to a wide-range of existing laws, including the Industrial Design Act, the Patent Act, the Trade-marks Act, the Canada Labour Code, the Copyright Act, the Export Development Act, the Members of Parliament Retiring Allowances Act, the National Energy Board Act, the Parliament of Canada Act, the Employment Insurance Act, the Canada Small Business Financing Act, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, the First Nations Fiscal Management Act, the Canadian Forces Members and Veterans Re-establishment and Compensation Act, the Ending the Long-gun Registry Act, the Trust and Loan Companies Act, the Bank Act, the Insurance Companies Act, and the Cooperative Credit Associations Act.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies