TORONTO, November 30, 2022 – Following a coordinated Charter challenge by a coalition of over 40 unions, including OCUFA member organizations and led by the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice declared the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act (formerly Bill 124) violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“This is another major defeat of the Ford government’s attempt to infringe on workers’ rights,” said Sue Wurtele, OCUFA President. “This decision marks an important step in addressing the hard hit to public sector workers in this province, who were forced to accept an annual wage cap of one per cent annually for three years, including during a pandemic and spiking inflation.”
“Government and public sector employers should respect this decision and redress the wrongs brought about by the legislation,” she added.
In his decision, Justice Markus Koehnen said the law substantially interferes with collective bargaining, infringes on the applicants’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and the right to strike.
The coalition that brought forth the Charter challenge represents more than 250,000 Ontario workers across the broader public sector including in education, skilled trades, and healthcare. The coalition argued that the legislation interfered with the rights of workers to free and fair collective bargaining, threatened pay equity and benefits for contract faculty and other marginalized workers, and could erode the foundations of Ontario’s vital public services—including public education. On Tuesday, the government announced an intention to appeal the ruling.
“OCUFA and its allies will be watching the court proceedings unfold and are prepared to continue holding this government accountable for its attacks on all public sector workers in Ontario,” said Wurtele.
Founded in 1964, OCUFA represents 17,000 faculty, academic librarians, and other academic professionals in 31 member organizations across Ontario. It is committed to enhancing the quality of higher education in Ontario and recognizing the outstanding contributions of its members towards creating a world-class university system. For more information, please visit the OCUFA website at www.ocufa.on.ca.
For more information, contact:
Manisha Aggarwal-Schifellite, Communications Lead at 416-306-6033 or firstname.lastname@example.org