Ontario labor leaders celebrate court ruling that struck down Bill 124

Ontario union leaders celebrate after a court declared the Ford government’s controversial wage restraint law — Bill 124 — unconstitutional.

The decision could be appealed immediately by the province, which said its « intent is to appeal » the Ontario Superior Court’s decision.

However, even as the future of the overturned legislation remains uncertain, many union leaders are celebrating victory in a battle they have fought since Bill 124 was first introduced in 2019.

« This is truly a historic victory for us, » Bernie Robinson, acting president of the Ontario Nurses Association, told Global News.

“We have seen our rights violated for years by this wage moderation. We will celebrate this across Ontario, this victory.

She said the nurses were « ecstatic » about the decision.

The story continues under the ad

Read more:

Ontario intends to appeal court ruling that struck down Bill 124

The legal challenge to Bill 124 was brought by Ontario unions who challenged the constitutionality of the law in court. The province said the law did not violate constitutional rights.

A decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released on Tuesday found that the law violated collective bargaining rights and freedom of association.

« I declare the law to be … null and void, » the decision states.

Karen Littlewood, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTF), said her members were « excited » about the decision.

“What that means is that public sector workers spoke up, they fought against something unconstitutional – and they won,” she told Global News.

Read more:

Courts striking down Bill 124 could cost Ontario more than $8 billion, report says

Health care advocates have argued since 2019 — with growing urgency during the COVID-19 pandemic — that Bill 124 and its wage restraint rules were worsening the province’s health care crisis.

Nurses, in particular, pleaded with the province to repeal the law. They said that when the burnout started, many left the profession and staffing shortages began to be felt.

The story continues under the ad

« Today has brought light at the end of the tunnel, » said Doris Grinspun, president of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario.

« Nurses and other healthcare professionals feel someone is listening to them – and this is the court. »

Read more:

Ontario may need to raise public sector wages to attract new workers, report says

Opposition parties in Ontario have asked the province not to follow through on its plan to appeal the decision.

“Don’t keep dragging this through the courts – you shouldn’t be fighting this, it’s wrong,” said Ontario Liberal Leader John Fraser.

His remarks were echoed by Peter Tabuns, leader of the Ontario NDP, in a statement.

« My message to Ford is simple: don’t appeal this decision, » Tabuns said.

“Bill 124 has caused incalculable damage to our precious public services. Mr. Ford’s wage cap legislation has created staffing crises in key sectors like education and health care, and Ontarians have paid the price.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Back to top button