Wednesday, March 21, 2012

SFL proposes new consultation framework

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour
March 21, 2012

In light of Justice Dennis Ball’s recent Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench decision, the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour is proposing a consultation framework, the adoption of which would establish a comprehensive process for the Provincial Government’s future consultations with working people. The framework is consistent both with Justice Ball’s comments in the decision and the Government of Saskatchewan’s obligations under international law.

“Justice Ball was very clear when he struck down the government’s legislation that one of its greatest failings was that it was not the result of a meaningful consultation process,” said Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour. “What we are proposing is a comprehensive consultation framework that should serve as a guide for how the government engages working people in consultation in the future.”
In order for working people and government to arrive at public policy that is best for the people of the province, it is first necessary to establish the terms by which the two sides will communicate. Adopting an explicit, publically-available consultation policy will also help to ensure openness, transparency, and accountability as government consults with stakeholders on any number of issues.

“We believe that it is extremely important for the government to maintain a high standard for consultation prior to introducing legislation that impacts the people of the province. We have sent our consultation framework to Minister Morgan, and we hope that we can come to an agreement about the process in the near future.”

The SFL Consultation Framework

A good-faith consultation process, for the purposes of establishing legislation that will affect working people, should include the following:

  •  Consultation should take place in advance of the tabling of legislation and before decisions are firmly made;
  • The parties to consultation should include, at the least, the employers’ and working people’s organizations to be affected, and others whose interests may be affected by the legislation;
  • Consultation should be “full and detailed;”
  • All parties should have access to all relevant information in the course of the consultation;
  • Interested parties should be given sufficient time both to express their views and to ensure their submissions are seriously considered;
  • Consultation must take place in good faith, confidence, and mutual respect;
  • The government must take submissions seriously and discuss them in full, with a view to reaching a suitable compromise and/or demonstrably integrating submissions into the final outcome;
  • The government must give weight to agreements it has made with working people’s organizations;

The right to consultation does not give interested parties a right to veto

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