Ford government appeals Ontario court ruling striking down Bill 124

The Ontario government is appealing a court ruling that struck down a law limiting the wages of public sector workers.

In the notice of appeal filed Thursday in Ontario’s highest court, the province argues that the judge erred in ruling that Bill 124 infringes the plaintiffs’ rights to freedom of association and to collective bargaining.

In his November 29 ruling, Judge Markus Koehnen ruled the law unconstitutional.

Groups representing several hundred thousand public sector employees had challenged the constitutionality of the 2019 law that capped wage increases for Ontario public service employees as well as public sector workers at 1% per year .

As part of the ruling, Koehnen said Ontario failed to explain why it was necessary to violate constitutional rights to impose wage restraints while offering tax cuts or car sticker refunds. license plate more than 10 times greater than the savings on salaries. restraint measure.

The OFL outraged by the government’s decision to appeal

The Ontario Federation of Labor (OFL) said it was outraged by the government’s decision to appeal.

« Bill 124 has seriously affected the standard of living of workers and aggravated issues such as the staffing crisis in our overburdened healthcare system, » OFL President Patty Coates said in a press release. .

“At this time, the Ford government should be focused on taking meaningful action to address the concurrent cost of living and health care crises in this province. Instead, he chooses to spend public funds to fight workers in court,” Coates added.

Licensed practical nurses, personal support workers, hospital cleaners and others held a press conference and delivered postcards to the Ontario government in November calling for the repeal of the Bill 124 which cuts their wages. (Susan Goodspeed/CBC)

The Ontario Nurses Association called on Premier Ford in a press release to « stop attacking nurses and health care workers. »

« He should have done the right thing and accepted the court’s clear decision. Now hundreds of thousands of public dollars will be wasted fighting the workers in court, » the association said.

The healthcare workers’ union, SEIU Healthcare, also responded, saying the government’s decision to appeal further undermines healthcare in Ontario.

« Premier Ford’s anti-worker decision to appeal the Ontario Superior Court’s decision, which overturned Bill 124 last month, is an attack on those on the front lines of care who will further harm the delivery of health care and cause already record-breaking wait times for health services to expand further,” President Sharleen Stewart said in a press release.

Meanwhile, the Ontario NDP said in a press release that all Ontarians are paying the price for Bill 124 and that « Doug Ford must give up appealing this decision. »

« All Ontarians paid the price for Ford’s wage cap Bill 124 – just look at the staffing crises that hit our hospitals and schools as workers left because they felt disrespected. , overworked and underpaid,” the NDP added.

The province had argued the law did not violate constitutional rights, saying the charter only protects the bargaining process, not the outcome, and that the bill was a time-limited approach to help eliminate the deficit .

Andrew Kennedy, spokesman for Attorney General Doug Downey, told CBC Toronto on Thursday: « As this matter is still before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further. »


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