FETCO began in the late 1970s. At the time, labour relations executives in several large federally regulated companies shared a common concern that policy making under the Canada Labour Code was being managed without due consultation outside the walls of government.
Participants at the first FETCO meeting believed that an association of key employers would enhance the ability of federal employers to communicate a common message to the federal government on policy changes being contemplated on labour matters. The objective was to develop a proactive engagement strategy with federal officials – elected and unelected – early on in the legislative process.
Players around the table in the early days represented some of Canada’s most significant federally regulated employers – including representatives from the airline industry, airports, railways, maritime ports, as well as telecommunications. The individuals representing these firms as FETCO members were largely the “who’s who” of management side labour relations leaders in the federal sector.
Over the years, FETCO has played an instrumental role on all matters related to labour legislation. FETCO formal interventions, which number in the hundreds, have been prepared and presented to Parliament on a wide range of policy, regulatory and legislative matters.
At the same time, FETCO representatives – at the Board of Directors and the committee levels – have engaged in effective tripartite dialogue with government and labour to affect many positive changes in the labour relations landscape.
These efforts, over the years, have resulted in FETCO gaining credibility as the primary employer-side voice in the federal labour relations environment.