Bill 2: The Public Services Sustainability Amendment Act

On October 7th, the Manitoba government announced it had introduced new legislation, Bill 2; The Public Services Sustainability Amendment Act. Finance Minister Scott Fielding suggests Bill 2 “would help make collective bargaining more flexible and responsive to the priorities of public sector employers and their employees”. Recall, Bill 28 has not been proclaimed. It would hold public sector employees to increases of 0% in years one and two, 0.75% in year three and 1.5% in year four.

Bill 2 (LINK) would alter Bill 28 (LINK) in areas such as the “sustainability period”, i.e. the four year time period (Section 12), amounts of potential increases, (Section 13) which states the minister may — in the minister’s sole discretion — approve a collective agreement…” The fate of each collective agreement could be decided by one individual, who with the Act in hand and in council with the Lieutenant Governor, could over-ride legal agreements that had been reached through arbitration, (Section 26). Teachers in Manitoba gave up the ability to strike for binding arbitration. One person in the entire province would decide which public sector unions gets raises and which do not.