Manitoba

Opposition parties delay bills affecting health care services, public construction projects, and more

Five Manitoba government bills won’t be passed into law after opposition parties exercised their right to delay passage of legislation.

Manitoba NDP are allowed to select 4 bills to delay, while the Liberals can choose 1

Opposition parties are allowed to select a certain number of government bills to delay until the next legislative sitting. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Five Manitoba government bills won't be passed into law after opposition parties exercised their right to delay passage of legislation. Over the past couple of weeks, the Manitoba NDP and Liberals have announced which bill they want to hold over until the fall session.

If passed, the bills would impact a range of policy areas, including labour relations with government contractors, health care reform, and retail cannabis operations.

Here's a summary of which bills the opposition parties have chosen to delay.

Bill 10: The Regional Health Authority Amendment Act

This bill would bring more of Manitoba's health-care services under the umbrella of Shared Health, as part of the provincial government's overhaul of the health-care system.

It would ensure each of the seven major health care organizations in Manitoba operate under a single piece of legislation.

The health department would cede much of its control to Shared Health, the new organization co-ordinating health-care service in the province, while maintaining responsibility over policy, planning and oversight.

Announcing its plan to delay the bill, the NDP said the Manitoba Nurses Union opposes the bill because it would make it easier for the government to make unilateral changes to the health system by centralizing decision-making power in Shared Health and the office of the health minister.

Bill 18: The Labour Relations Amendment Act

This bill would cut the conciliation and grievance mediation services branch of the Manitoba government, which unions and employers use to resolve disputes during collective bargaining negotiations.

If passed, workers and employers would need to seek mediation services in the private sector.

"Business and labour were both clear with the Pallister government that these mediation services should remain public," said Manitoba Federation of Labour president Kevin Rebeck in a statement issued by the Manitoba NDP.

Bill 12: The Workplace Safety and Health Amendment Act

The one bill chosen for delay by the Manitoba Liberals, this bill would increase fines for some safety infractions, but would also introduce a six-month deadline for workers to file complaints.

"We are concerned that if passed, this bill creates a barrier for Manitobans to bring forward complaints of discrimination in the workplace," the Liberals wrote in a Twitter post announcing their decision to delay the bill.

Bill 3: The Liquor, Gaming and Cannabis Control Amendment Act (Cannabis Social Responsibility Fee)

Under this legislation, cannabis retailers would be forced to pay a "social responsibility fee" equal to six per cent of their annual sales revenue, or another amount set by Cabinet.

The NDP says it is delaying the bill not because it opposes the responsible sale of Cannabis, but because the provincial government has not been transparent about how much cannabis revenue it has collected, or how it plans to spend it.

Bill 4: The Public Sector Construction Projects (Tendering) Act

This bill would eliminate a legislative requirement to create one labour agreement to cover all workers on major public construction projects.

Project labour agreements require non-unionized workers to pay dues and be governed by the same requirements and benefits as their unionized counterparts.

Progressive Conservative leaders have called the agreements "forced unionization" that discourages companies employing non-unionized workers from bidding for contracts.

In the 2016 election the Tories campaigned on a promise to end project labour agreements.

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