November 8-9th, 2012

Main Dichotomy: Corporate Interests vs Common Interests
Most government privatization occurs with “low hanging fruit” such as trades and maintenance.  These are areas that are easier to increase private contractors doing work.  And due to the rising retirements in such areas there are potentially more opportunities to replace unionized/public workers with private replacements.

Core Service Reviews – becoming commonplace at municipalities.  Excuse to introduce strict measures to reduce costs with the end goal of privatization.

Education: Why is there no schools being built via P3’s?
Declining enrolment, new schools are smaller projects usually under $15M and capital costs are tightly controlled therefore private contractors are not willing to take the risk, also politics are complicated due to co-governance via local School Boards.

P3 Verdict:
- Lack of Transparency
- Higher Cost to Taxpayers
- Lack of Public Control
- Poor Value
- Pure Ideological Argument – PROS

Reframe Discussion
P4 – Public Payment Private Profit

CETA – Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement
Directly affects CUPE workers because of the introduction of Public Purchasing (total $100B/yr) in Canada.  Highest priority to the EU is unconditional access to all public procurement in Canada.  More than 40 municipalities & UBCM requesting exemption, total 80 municipalities expressed concern about the agreement due to the expanded powers of corporations to sue Canadian governments if they feel their profits were limited/restricted in anyway.  Canadian government has lost 17 lawsuits related to NAFTA.  Provincial governments have been included in the confidential trade meetings for the first time.

There is a need to support local NDP MP’s, MLA’s in their fight against CETA.  CETA was supposed to be completed in 2012, delayed till early 2013.

CUPE’s European Allies include EPSU, NUPGE.
NAFTA is a positive list trade agreement that listed what was included in the agreement.  CETA is a negative list agreement which means everything is included except for what is listed out.

How to respond?
CUPE locals can assign a “watchdog” to monitor the BC BID website ( to look for any private contracting being done by the employer.

Check out BC Government website promoting P3’s:  This site is designed to promote projects and for businesses to seek P3 opportunities.

Encourage Public/Public Partnerships around trades, with unions collaborating with other unions to share certain positions.


Submitted by,
Harpinder Sandhu

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