Court Ruling Against Bill 115 Secures Charter Rights of Every Worker:
OFL Calls on Premier Wynne to Bring Balance and Fairness to Labour Laws
(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) applauded yesterday’s Ontario Superior Court ruling upholding the collective bargaining rights of educational workers, including their right to strike. Hon. Justice Thomas Lederer found that the McGuinty Government’s controversial Bill 115, imposed in the fall of 2012, was a violation of Charter rights and freedoms, and was part of a process that was “fundamentally flawed.”
“From the outset, Bill 115 was a cynical strategy to attack the rights of educational workers to woo Conservative voters in two tight by-election races,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “The plan backfired at the ballot box, toppled a Premier and now it has been soundly defeated in a court of law. This is a vindication for the unions who launched the Charter Challenge, the unions who stood by them, and for every worker who hopes for fair treatment under the law.”
On August 27, 2012, the McGuinty Government introduced Bill 115, Putting Students First Act, 2012, which stripped educational workers of their right to bargain collectively. Ontario’s labour movement responded with a province-wide mobilization that contributed to the crushing defeat of the Liberals in two by-elections and undoubtedly contributed to McGuinty’s decision to step down as Premier. The campaign culminated in a rally of more than 30,000 people outside the Liberal Leadership Convention in January 2013.
“The defeat of Bill 115 is a credit to the unions who launched the challenge, but it is also a victory that is shared by the hundreds of thousands of people who stood together against this blatant violation of workers’ rights. It is a testament to the importance of solidarity,” said Buckley. “Premier Kathleen Wynne has an opportunity to distance herself from the nasty anti-worker politics of her predecessor by making sweeping changes to Ontario’s outdated labour laws to improve employment standards, make it easier to join a union and bring balance and fairness to labour relations in this province.”
The OFL is part of a coalition called the “Fight for $15 and Fairness” and has launched the www.MakeItFair.ca website as part of a campaign to improve Ontario’s employment laws.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visitwww.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.