Friday, January 26, 2024
AMAPCEO is pleased to announce that we have officially secured a remedy for members in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) affected by Bill 124.
This remedy was achieved through mediation/arbitration with AMAPCEO representatives and the OPS employer, happening parallel to the ongoing legal proceedings we are participating in as part of the coalition of 40 unions.
“Over the past five years, AMAPCEO has not stopped fighting for this result—in court, in formal and informal conversations with the OPS employer, and even in the halls of Queen’s Park,” said President Dave Bulmer.
“Of course, the legislation is unjust and unconstitutional, and it should never have been passed in the first place, but we’re proud of our sustained and unwavering fight, and incredibly grateful to have had the support of AMAPCEO members as we’ve pursued every avenue in our challenge to this bill.”
New wage increases
Inclusive of the 1% already agreed upon in the signed 2022-2025 OPS Collective Agreement, AMAPCEO secured across-the-board wage increases of:
The arbitrator awarded an additional 6.5% in remedy over three years, for a total of 9.5% over three years. Increases are retroactive to April 1, 2022 and April 1, 2023, with the third and final increment in the present collective agreement not occurring until April 1, 2024. The employer has not yet confirmed when the retroactive amounts will be applied, but the intention is to have all payments applied this spring.
The arbitrator also awarded special compensation adjustments to AMAPCEO members working in the following nursing positions:
- Clinical Nurse Advisor;
- Nurse Case Manager;
- Senior Nurse Consultant; and
- Nurse Advisor.
Members impacted by these special adjustments will be contacted by AMAPCEO within the coming weeks.
Bill 124 capped public servants’ across-the-board increases to 1% per year, even during a period of record inflation. The bill was first introduced in 2019, following consultations where AMAPCEO made our strenuous objections to wage-capping legislation very clear. After the bill was passed, AMAPEO and ten other unions formed a coalition, eventually quadrupling in size, to fight the legislation in court, and have remained steadfast in our legal opposition to Bill 124 ever since.
Despite being constrained by Bill 124 at the bargaining table, AMAPCEO worked to make strategic gains for members, including the creation of a Health Care Spending Account, the expansion of mental health services, and improvements to provisions for members working fixed-term contracts.
AMAPCEO knows that, even with a remedy being achieved in this instance, the fight to secure fair compensation is not over. We will continue to push for improved compensation for all members in the next round of bargaining, beginning spring 2025.
President Bulmer added, “Despite this outcome, we remain committed to our principled legal challenge of Bill 124 and its ultimate defeat—something that will serve as a warning to future governments that Ontario’s proud and hardworking public servants will not accept such an outrageous infringement on their collective bargaining and Charter rights.”
Recruitment and retention review
Additionally, separate and distinct from the arbitration award, AMAPCEO was able to come to an agreement with the employer to strike a special joint committee to review issues of recruitment and retention specific to members in AMAPCEO-represented health care positions.
Members impacted by this special review will be contacted by AMAPCEO in coming months.
Impact on AMAPCEO’s smaller bargaining units
Although the remedy is specific to our OPS bargaining unit, it will have a positive impact on our bargaining efforts within our smaller bargaining units, many of whom have yet to bargain under the constriction of Bill 124. With this weight lifted, we expect that smaller bargaining unit employers will now be open to and—as importantly—capable of, considering fairer compensation similar to what we’ve achieved in the OPS.
AMAPCEO will be re-engaging at all its bargaining tables in light of this advance, and will update members as progress is made.
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AMAPCEO members in the OPS with specific questions on how this remedy will affect their particular circumstances are encouraged to contact their Workplace Representative.