OPSEU to launch Charter challenge on Bill 124

This legislation amounts to unacceptable interference with the collective bargaining rights enshrined in the constitution.

Toronto (20 Jan. 2020) ― In 2019, the Ontario Conservative government passed Bill 124. Bill 124 caps wage increases at one per cent per year for the next 3 years for public sector workers – well below the rate of inflation. These caps disproportionately affect women workers, as women make up the majority of frontline public sector workers. It strips these workers of their constitutional rights to free and fair collective bargaining.

This legislation amounts to unacceptable interference with the collective bargaining rights enshrined in the constitution. The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU/NUPGE) will not allow it to stand unchallenged.

Bill 124 ignores the fundamental laws and principles of our country

OPSEU/NUPGE state that, "Bill 124 is a violation of Section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, undermining worker rights to free collective bargaining." By pushing this legislation through, Doug Ford is telling working people that he can call the shots as he pleases and ignore the fundamental laws and principles of our country.

He is dead wrong and we will stop him dead in his tracks.

OPSEU won a similar challenge against the previous government

As such, OPSEU/NUPGE is mounting a legal challenge. Every time OPSEU/NUPGE members face this kind of bullying behavior, we stare down the bully and become stronger as a union. In 2016 the Ontario courts ruled that the previous Liberal government violated the constitutional right to free collective bargaining with legislation that set rules for school boards to negotiate contracts with their workers.

The courts were clear that the government was out of line then, and this time will be no different. OPSEU/NUPGE will fight this legislation in the court of law and the court of public opinion. It won’t be easy work, but in the end we are going to win.

OPSEU’s Executive Board has voted in favour of launching and funding the Charter challenge. It will be filed with the courts in the coming weeks.

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The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 390,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. — NUPGE