Deck is stacked against small business in workplace legislation review

Alberta Government stifles meaningful consultation

Calgary, April 6th, 2017 – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) today called into question the hasty and deeply-flawed consultation process the Alberta Government is using to overhaul the province’s workplace and labour laws.

The Alberta Government’s invite-only stakeholder meeting begins at 9 a.m. today in Calgary.

The Government is proposing to fundamentally modify Employment Standards and the Labour Relations Code by drastically altering the rules that govern workers’ and employers’ rights and responsibilities, as well as how unions are formed and certified.

“We understand the wish-lists from union bosses were pouring in even before the government’s consultation was publicly announced, giving organized labour an inside track,” said Amber Ruddy, Alberta Director for CFIB. “To give small business owners a fair shake, this government needs to slow down and listen to the serious concerns entrepreneurs’ will no doubt have about the impact on their businesses and livelihoods.”

Albertans have about 30 days to provide input on rules that have been in place for more than 30 years. A similar ongoing review in Ontario has taken more than two years to date and it is anticipated consultation with stakeholders and the public will continue for several more weeks.

“There are many flaws in how this consultation was designed by the Alberta Government, including the fact that their survey questions barely scratch the surface about what they plan to alter. Advice on the most controversial pieces of the legislation is outsourced to an expert hand-picked by the government. All of this creates the perception the government is deliberately manipulating the process to produce union-friendly outcomes,” added Ruddy.

CFIB urges the government to design a better process that will allow genuine and meaningful opportunity for business owners across the province to understand what is being proposed and express their concerns.

“Modernizing the workplace should mean bringing in more flexibility for employers to meet the needs of a growing economy, not mandating rigid new rules and requirements,” concluded Ruddy.

To speak with Amber Ruddy, CFIB’s Alberta Director, call 403-835-6442 or email

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small- and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region, including 10,000 in Alberta.