The Edmonton Chamber of Commerce has raised concerns after the NDP announced changes to Alberta’s labour laws on Wednesday.
In a news release, the chamber said the changes were introduced hastily, and that a more in-depth review of the province’s labour and employment standards needed to be conducted.
“The rushed process and lack of transparency with little public reporting does not inspire confidence in the new legislation,” president and CEO Janet Riopel said in the release.
“The chamber urged the province to keep the mandatory secret ballot,” Riopel said. “Every worker should be able to vote their conscience anonymously without fear of pressure or repercussions.”
Scroll down to read the full Chamber of Commerce news release.
The Fair and Family-Friendly Workplaces Act would allow Albertans to take unpaid leave to care for themselves and their loved ones. The proposal will impact overtime and vacation pay, and seeks to improve the standards for maternity and compassionate leave.
The proposed changes come after three decades of minimal alterations to the province’s labour laws.
The government is proposing that the process of forming and disbanding unions be simplified, potentially eliminating the secret ballot vote for union certification – something the chamber had discouraged in an earlier recommendation.
Members of the chamber also said a potential problem exists in the province’s proposal to pay banked overtime hours at a rate of time-and-a-half instead of at the standard rate.
“In this fragile economic climate, this change will likely result in employers cutting back on overtime, so employees will lose out,” Riopel said.
The chamber noted that the new legislation could put labour stability at risk, while the government said it will simply bring the province’s labour standards to the level required in 2017.