Ontario govt has decided to cancel the wage-restraint law after the province’s highest court declared it unconstitutional. Ontario Premiere Doug Ford said the government will abolish the entire law.
The administration of Doug Ford passed Bill 124 (wage-restraint law), which limited compensation increases for public sector workers to 1% per year for three years.
The Court of Appeal for Ontario ruled that the law violated the collective bargaining rights of public sector employees, including nurses and teachers. So, the Ontario govt has to cancel the wage-restraint law following the court decision.
Bill 124 regarding wage-restraint law will provide Ontario teachers with 2.75 percent compensation. Ontario civil officials will receive compensation increases following Bill 124 agreements.
The Ministry of Attorney General stated the government of Ontario will not appeal against the decision of the Appeal Court. Instead, They will take steps to abolish Bill 124 in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, Unions welcomed the court decision as a significant win for workers’ rights and asked Ontario Premiere Doug to follow the decision.
The Progressive Conservatives passed Bill 124 for wage-restraint law in 2018 to help the government reduce its deficit. An Appeal court overturned this law as unconstitutional in a 2-1 judgment. It stated the violation of the law could not be justified.
The court wrote in its majority opinion that organized public sector workers have lost the ability to negotiate for better compensation. They cannot even better work conditions that do not have monetary value. Many of these workers are women, racialized, and low-income earners.
However, the government maintained they did not violate constitutional rights. This is because the Charter protects only the process of bargaining, not the result.
The Appeal Court also stated that governments have the authority to limit compensation rises to a particular level. But the question is how. According to the court ruling, the Ontario government has failed to explain why wage restraint could not have been achieved through good faith bargaining.
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