Ontario workers win against the Ford government’s unconstitutional Bill 124

Sample article from our Government & Public Policy

February 12, 2024 (press release) –

TORONTO – The United Steelworkers (USW) union applauds the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal today holding that the Ford government’s Bill 124 is unconstitutional in relation to unionized employees. This is a victory and justice served for Ontario unionized workers, their families and the labour movement.

Introduced in 2019, Bill 124 allowed the provincial government to impose a 1% compensation cap, including wages, benefits, pensions and health care improvements, on a variety of unionized and non-unionized public sector workplaces. More than 1 million workers in Ontario, including 20,000 USW members working in universities and health care institutions, were affected by Bill 124.

In 2022, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice struck down Bill 124, ruling it was unconstitutional and infringed on unionized workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Today, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the Ontario Superior Court’s decision.

“The Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal have both now told the Ford government what unionized workers have always known: that Bill 124 is unconstitutional and it should not have been jammed through the legislature in the first place,” said Myles Sullivan, USW District 6 Director (Ontario and Atlantic Canada). “Today’s decision is another example of the Ford government having to walk back poor decisions. In this case, it even violates the law.

“From the beginning, Ontario unionized workers and the labour movement have been united in our call for the Ford government to stop Bill 124 at its tracks, then to repeal it. They were arrogant enough to not listen to workers and are now paying a hefty price for it,” said Sullivan.

The USW echoes the calls of workers and the labour movement: Premier Ford, accept and respect the decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal and to not to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, the broader public sector needs to be properly funded moving forward as our health care and education, in particular, are suffering from Ford’s cuts.

The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.

Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of the union’s strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.

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Media Contact

Myles Sullivan, Director, USW District 6, 416-243-8792
Lorei Leigh De Los Reyes, USW Communications, ldelosreyes@usw.ca, 416-544-6009

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