Opposition Parties and Business Community Urge Government to Extend Labour Consultations

By Gateway Gazette

Apr 20

EDMONTON, AB: The Wildrose and Progressive Conservative caucuses stood with representatives from Alberta’s business community, this week, to call for the NDP government to extend and enhance the consultation process in its review of the Labour Relations and Employment Standards Codes.

Today marks the NDP government’s deadline for written and online survey submissions for the labour legislation review that could introduce sweeping changes.

Over the past month, the provincial government has only held four private meetings to directly meet with representatives from business. In the Legislature, opposition parties have continuously warned the Premier and the Minister of Labour about the importance of adequately engaging job creators in our province when potentially introducing significant labour changes. The NDP government has done a poor job of holding meaningful dialogue with these groups and over the past month, they have voiced their concerns about the lack of proper consultation.

Business associations and opposition parties are requesting a more fulsome two-way dialogue to hear the concerns of these job creators. The NDP government must extend the consultation process past today’s deadline and enhance the ability for Albertans to provide input.

Four private meetings are not adequate consultation, and the Wildrose and PC caucuses are urging the provincial government to increase the number of meetings around the province and make the outcomes of the meetings more transparent.

“We have seen repeatedly from this government a pattern of driving through policies that go against the grain of Albertans and our industries. This isn’t the Alberta way. Recent labour changes in other provinces were only done after nearly two years of consultations. The government needs to start listening to Albertans who are worried about the long-term prosperity of our province before they decide to try and ram through ideological legislation.”

-Glenn van Djiken, Wildrose Shadow Labour Minister  

“Over the past few weeks, I’ve heard from a number of concerned businesses and business associations regarding the lack of proper consultation for this labour review. When introducing changes that will impact every Albertan family, this NDP government must ensure they do their due diligence in facilitating a two-way dialogue. The NDP must do the right thing and enhance and extend the consultation past today’s deadline.”

-Richard Gotfried, Progressive Conservative Member

“Modernized employment rules should be flexible for small employers to better support job creation. Unfortunately this government missed the mark on substantive consultation with small business owners. The right thing to do would be to enhance and extend this important discussion so that entrepreneurs can weigh in with meaningful insights.”

-Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Director of Provincial Affairs

The AHLA (Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association) believes that a positive relationship between employers and employees can best be achieved when the needs of both are fully understood and appreciated.  We ask that the consultation period be extended to ensure there is adequate time for Albertans to provide their input on the proposed changes and to share what the impacts of these will be on employers and employees, and the families they support.”

-Dave Kaiser, Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association and Keep Alberta Working Representative

“The number one focus for the government needs to be protecting jobs, but time and time again we have seen the NDP government continue to ram through changes that will only make things worse for Albertans. If they want to make positive changes, they should work with job creators across the province, not against them. It’s critical the government extends consultations and start focusing on what’s best for our economy.”

-Brian Jean, Wildrose Leader

“Once again, we are seeing the NDP government put their ideological agenda over what’s best for Alberta families. Our job creators are willing to work collaboratively and it’s concerning the provincial government is not willing to do the same. During tough economic times, we need to be enabling employers to keep Alberta moving forward. I can assure you, the Progressive Conservatives will continue to stand up for what’s in the best interest of Albertans and get our province back to work.”

-Jason Kenney, Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party

Audio from the joint opposition press conference is available to media on SoundCloud.

List of Participants in Speaking Order:
Glenn van Djiken, Wildrose Shadow Labour Minister
Richard Gotfried, Progressive Conservative MLA
Dr. David Swann, Alberta Liberal Leader
Amber Ruddy, Canadian Federation of Independent Business
Dave Kaiser, Keep Alberta Working

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