The Ford government has submitted its factum to the Ontario Court of Appeal in its case against the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s declaration that Bill 124 violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. OCUFA supports the Superior Court’s declaration of Bill 124 as null and void, and opposes the government’s decision to file an appeal.
In this statement, legal counsel for the Ford government dismissed Justice Koehnen’s conclusion that Bill 124 caused substantial interference of collective bargaining. The government makes the narrow argument that restraining wages to a one per cent cap in and of itself did not prevent the ability of unions to proceed with meaningful and good faith negotiations. The Ford government also claims that Justice Koehnen failed to recognize unions’ ability under Bill 124 to seek an exemption from the salary cap and pursue the right to strike.
While Bill 124 did not prohibit the right to strike (and strikes did occur while unions were restrained by this legislation), Justice Koehnen did point out that unions were significantly limited in their scope of bargaining and prevented from meaningful and fulsome negotiations, including trading salary demands for non-compensatory gains such as decreases to unsustainable workload demands. Power dynamics between parties at the bargaining table were significantly compromised, amidst pandemic pressures and spikes in inflation.
The government’s appeal is ongoing despite recognizing that Bill 124 is no longer in effect. Court dates have been set for June 20-23, 2023.
For further information and updates on the Superior Court ruling, appeal, and successes post-Bill 124, please visit the OCUFA page on Bill 124