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CUPE BC says Campbell gov’t made big mistake by issuing RFP to manage trade deal

BURNABY—The Canadian Union of Public Employees says the B.C. government has crossed the line by contracting out management of the Trade Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement (TILMA) to a private corporation.

The website Public Eye Online yesterday revealed that B.C. and Alberta plan to outsource the work and have issued a Request for Proposal to find a “neutral party” to manage the TILMA secretariat.

The TILMA grants rights to corporations to sue if governments enact any measures that will interfere with potential profits.  Now the secretariat that oversees this process will be managed by a private corporation, according to CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill.
“The government has completely abandoned its responsibility to manage issues in the public interest,” says O’Neill.  “There are some things that are the job of government and that private corporations have no business doing. This is one of them.”

Private companies are not neutral parties when it comes to regulating private companies. That is why we elect governments”.

On top of that, O’Neill adds, the complex process of managing the TILMA will now be handled as a part time job, with not more than 120 hours per month or 1,200 hours per year permitted.  Any company bidding on this process will come to the table with many more corporate resources—and that raises the possibility of conflict of interest, according to the CUPE BC president.

The TILMA is a bad agreement.  It undermines the rights of local governments.  It is a race to the bottom in terms of employment qualifications.  Now the governments involved have managed to make it even worse,” says O’Neill.


Contact:  Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president: (604) 340-6768 (cell)
Dan Gawthrop, CUPE Communications: (604) 999-6132 (cell)