Ontario’s teachers and education support workers are taking the government to court over Bill 115, which is a legislation introduced by the Ontario Liberals that imposes the terms of members’ contracts and restricts their right to strike. The teachers and education support workers allege that Bill 115 violates The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and should be struck down.
The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) struck down a similar bill in British Columbia in 2007. The SCC ruled that the bill had infringed on health workers’ bargaining rights by imposing contract terms.
Sam Hammod, president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, which is one of the four major unions involved in the dispute, states that the province did not negotiate with the teachers and instead imposed “rigid” and “predetermined” terms. On the other side, Ontario’s Minister of Education, Laurel Broten, argues that Bill 115 respects the right to a process of collective bargaining and does not violate the Charter.
The government justifies the bill on the grounds that Ontario is facing a $14.8-billion deficit, and that the bill avoids costs associated with teacher pay raises and bankable sick days that taxpayers cannot afford to pay.
The elementary and secondary school unions have voted on striking and could be in a legal strike position by November. Meanwhile, the province has notified the school boards that it will not exercise its powers to block strikes before December 31st, even though Bill 115 gives them some powers to do so.
The full article can be found here: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/teachers-challenge-ontario-bill/article4607725/