Court victory in Manitoba could spell end for Ontario’s Bill 124

June 12, 2020 – 12:00 AM

TORONTO – Ontario workers who had their bargaining rights attacked by Ford’s wage restraint law, find hope and vindication as similar legislation was struck down by the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench.

“Ford’s attack on Ontario public sector workers’ bargaining rights, including thousands on the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic, is a common tactic by conservative politicians, but that does not make it right,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Ford should repeal 124 and give Ontario workers the respect they deserve, because his law will be struck down just like Pallister’s.”

Earlier this week, a Manitoba judge ruled that the so-called Public Services Sustainability Act violates the right to collective bargaining protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In Ontario, Unifor is engaged in a similar court challenge against the legislation in Ontario, along with many other unions representing workers across the broader public sector.

“We said it in 2019, that this law would not stand up in court. After this week’s ruling that confidence has grown, Ford cannot continue to pay lip service to public sector workers while stifling their rights,” said Naureen Rizvi, Unifor Ontario Regional Director.

Ford’s wage restraint bill has forced a one per cent wage cap across the public sector in Ontario, including unionized and non-unionized workers, for any currently expired or expiring collective agreements over the next three years.

This applies to the public service, as well as hospitals, Ornge, some long-term care homes, boards, commissions, agencies, school boards, universities and colleges, and children’s aid societies. Police and firefighters, excluded from the legislation, received wage increases of two per cent or more.