Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act
Link to the entire bill here:
Explanatory Note from Manitoba Government:
This Bill establishes a four-year sustainability period during which the compensation for public sector employees, and the fee payments to physicians and other health professionals, may not be increased except by the percentages permitted by the Bill.
Public sector employees
In the first two years of the sustainability period, unionized and non-unionized public sector employees receive no pay increase. In the third year, a maximum increase of 0.75% is permitted, and in the fourth year a maximum increase of 1.0% is permitted.
The sustainability period begins at different times for different employees. For unionized employees, the period begins when the term of the collective agreement that governs their wages on March 20, 2017, expires or expired. This means, for example, that for employees covered by a collective agreement that expired on March 31, 2016, the period begins retroactively on April 1, 2016. For employees covered by a collective agreement that does not expire until March 31, 2019, the period begins on April 1, 2019.
The Bill does not affect an employee’s entitlement to a pay increase as a result of a promotion or reclassification, or to periodic or performance-based increases within an established pay range.
The sustainability period may be shortened from four years to three for unionized employees who did not receive a pay increase in a one-year period that began in 2016.
For non-unionized employees, the four-year sustainability period begins on March 20, 2017. But if the terms of employment allow for a pay increase after that date, the period begins one year after the last increase.
Physicians and other health professionals
The four-year sustainability period, and the percentage limits on pay increases for employees during that period, also apply to physicians and other health professionals who receive payments under The Health Services Insurance Act.
The Manitoba government of Brian Pallister introduced Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act during the 41st Legislature, 2016-17.
At its heart, this bill aims to impose a four-year wage cap on all unionized public service employees (including health care) of zero increases in years one and two, 0.75% in year three and 1% in year four.
In response, labour unions formed the Partnership to Defend Public Services (PDPS), representing more than 120,000 public sector workers, and filed a Constitutional Challenge of the Bill in the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. Along with the Statement of Claim, the PDPS also filed an injunction to the Bill as a way to limit its effects until the Constitutional Challenge could be heard.
Where we are now:
Cameron Friesen, who was the Finance Minister at the time of this bill, moved it to first, second and third reading on March 20, 2017, April 24, 2017, and May 9, 2017, respectively. Bill 28 received Royal Assent on June 2, 2017, however, it has not been proclaimed, which means it’s not yet law.
Even with the lack of Royal Assent, the Bill has had far-reaching effects on bargaining in Manitoba, most notably with the University of Manitoba Faculty Association (UMFA).
There were two court dates for the injunction, on May 29 and 30, 2018, and on July 20, 2018, Justice James Edmond issued a decision denying the injunction.
Trial dates for the Constitutional Challenge have been set for Nov. 18 – Dec. 5, 2019.
Communications from MAHCP, including newsletter:
September 2018 MAHCP vows to fight on despite injunction decision
September 2018 Bill 29 likely to increase need for MAHCP participation
July 20, 2018 Partnership to defend public services will continue to fight the Pallister government’s attacks on public sector workers
June 2018 Court hears arguments for, against Bill 28 injunction
June 2018 Solidarity is silver lining during trying times in health care
September 2017 Unions challenge wage bill in court
July 4, 2017 MAHCP President’s message on Public Sector Unions’ filing for Injunction
June 2017 MAHCP fighting for health care
March 21, 2017 MAHCP President’s message on proposed government legislation: Bill 28 and 29
March 20, 2017 Joint statement from labour leaders on Bill 28: The Public Services Sustainability Act
March 16, 2017 MAHCP President’s statement on Provincial Legislation affecting labour