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Unions Defeat Ford

Ford Government’s Anti-Worker Bill Ruled Unconstitutional

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Monday afternoon marked a win for workers as Ontario's top court upheld a ruling that Bill 124 is unconstitutional. The bill was introduced in 2019 and capped most public sector workers' wage increases at one per cent annually for three years. 

Unions and labour challenged Ford, and in November 2022, Ontario's Superior Court ruled that Bill 124 was unconstitutional. The judges ruled that the bill infringed on workers' rights for collective bargaining, but the Ford government quickly appealed the decision.

After the drawn out decision, on Monday afternoon, Ontario's Court of Appeals upheld that Bill 124 was unconstitutional. "Doug Ford must respect the decision of the courts, and finally stop the suppression of workers’ wages in Ontario" said Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) president Laura Walton in a press statement. The OFL was formed in 1957 and represents over one million workers from more than 1500 locals across Ontario.

"Let the Court’s ruling be a lesson for the Ford government to never circumvent bargaining or trample on workers’ democratic rights again" declared Karen Brown, President of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

In the court's majority decision, judges Lise Favreau and David Doherty write that "it is difficult to see how the Act’s benefits outweigh its substantial impact on the respondents’ collective bargaining rights", including that Bill 124 negatively impacted “women, racialized and/or low-income earners, [who] have lost the ability to negotiate for better compensation or even better work conditions."

More unionists commented on the ruling, including Unifor National President Lana Payne who said in a press release that the ruling "sends a strong and clear message to governments across this country considering using legislative powers to deny workers’ rights."

The Ontario government said that "it will not appeal today’s Court of Appeal decision and will instead take steps to repeal Bill 124 in its entirety in the coming weeks." 

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