Senate delays final decision on Canada Post back-to-work bill to Monday
The Senate will make a final decision Monday regarding the bill to end the Canada Post strike, which has completed its first and second reading in the Senate as well as the Committee of the Whole.
The Senate was originally supposed to sit Saturday and Sunday to review Bill C-89, which will order an end to postal workers’ rotating strike, but on Saturday adopted a new motion to adjourn until Monday to allow more time to consider the legislation in light of evidence received during the Committee of the Whole, a Senate statement said.
The third reading of the legislation will be at 2:00 p.m. Monday.
WATCH: Senators question constitutionality of Liberals’ Canada Post back-to-work legislation
The Senate heard from several witnesses during the Committee of the Whole on Saturday, including Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour Patty Hajdu, interim president and CEO of Canada Post Jessica McDonald and president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers Mike Palecek.
“I had hoped we could complete the debate this weekend, but I also understand that some Senators might have wanted more time to study the bill in light of the testimony from ministers, Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers before it moves to the final stage,” said Sen. Peter Harder following the seven-hour Senate sitting.
WATCH: Senators debate back-to-work bill for striking Canada Post workers
The bill was sent to the Senate early Saturday, just hours after the Liberal government pushed it through the House of Commons in a special sitting that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.
“It’s a position I didn’t want to be in, but our government has come to the point of last resort,” Hajdu told the Senate as she urged senators to give Bill C-89 their collective nod of approval.
If the upper chamber approves the bill, it will go into effect at noon eastern time the day after receiving royal assent.
If passed, the bill would appoint a mediator-arbitrator to help Canada Post and the union representing its workers come to an agreement. If mediation fails, the two sides would enter binding arbitration.
Members of CUPW have held rotating walkouts for a month, causing massive backlogs of unsorted mail and packages at postal depots.
WATCH: Canada Post, CUPW speak about back-to-work legislation as Senate debates bill
Canada Post says it could take weeks – even stretching into 2019 – to clear the backlog that has built up, especially at major sorting centres in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver.
CUPW’s 50,000 members, in two groups, are demanding better pay for rural and suburban carriers as well as greater job security and minimum guaranteed hours.
Those in favour of the back-to-work legislation say it would help small businesses that rely on parcel delivery around the holidays.
WATCH: Senate debates Canada Post back-to-work legislation
Critics – including New Democrat MPs, some of whom walked out of the Commons in protest on Friday evening – say it infringes on postal workers’ right to strike.
-With files from the Canadian Press
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.