Ontario uses flawed legislation to impose contract on education workers

In a cynical move the Province's education Minister promises to repeal Bill 115 after using it to impose contracts.

Toronto (04 Jan. 2013) - Ontario's Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, has used the powers contained in Bill 115, the wage freeze law, to impose a contract on the province's teachers and education workers. 

The move is intended to end the growing opposition to the McGuinty government's attack on workers rights in the province.  At the end of 2012, Ontario's education workers' unions had conducted a number of successful one-day rotating strikes by public elementary teachers and the boycotting of extracurricular activities.

The contracts, imposed on public teacher unions at the school boards without agreements, are being made retroactive to September 1, 2012 and set to expire on August 31, 2014.  

Legislation will impose contracts that freeze wages for most of the provinces education workers but allow younger ones to move up through the salary grid.  The legislation also cuts sick days in half and ends the banking of unused sick days to be cashed-out upon retirement. 

Broten's move to use Bill 115 and then promise to repeal it at a future date is being widely denounced as a cynical public relations move.

“By saying that she will repeal Bill 115 after using it to trample our rights, the education minister has admitted that the legislation is deeply flawed," said Sam Hammond, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario.

"Minister Broten will not erase the stain of Bill 115 simply by removing it after it is used. Ontarians will realize that democracy is not being well served by these actions.”

This sentiment is shared by New Democrat MPP Cheri DiNovo (Parkdale—High Park).

“This is cynical politics at its worst,” she said.

“This has nothing to do with the well-being of students and has everything to do with the well being of the Liberal party,” she charged.  “Nobody falls for this.”

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