On September 11th, the Ontario Liberal government passed Bill 115: An Act to implement restraint measures in the education sector (the so-called "Putting Students First Act"). This act imposes the terms of the OECTA memorandum of understanding on the entire education sector.
The bill eliminates education workers' right to strike, allows the Minister of Education to unilaterally set the terms of collective agreements, and among other things eliminates the ability of the Ontario Labour Relations Board and arbitrators to make rulings on whether Bill 115 is constitutional or violates the Ontario Human Rights Code. It also states that nothing under Bill 115 "shall be questioned or reviewed in any court."
Clearly, this is not the type of legislation we expect to see arising in a free democratic country like Canada. The education sector unions have already launched a legal challenge under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and a variety of escalating actions will be happening this year in response. ETFO is posting updates on the bargaining process at controlyourfuture.ca. For workers in other sectors, the simple question is "Who's Next?" Bill 115 must be thoroughly opposed.
There will be a protest this Friday September 14th at 4:00pm outside the offices of Jim Bradley and Tim Hudak. Everyone who cares about education and/or their constitutional rights is welcome to attend.
Please express your outrage by sending a message to your MPP.