Wednesday, September 20, 2023
In June, AMAPCEO and the other members of the coalition of 40 unions fighting Bill 124, appeared in court for the government’s appeal of the Superior Court’s decision to strike down the unconstitutional wage-limiting legislation.
To date, the Ontario Court of Appeal has not rendered its decision on the appeal.
AMAPCEO has maintained ongoing formal and informal conversations with the OPS Employer while we await the Court of Appeal’s decision. AMAPCEO and the coalition of 40 unions continue to be prepared to fight the bill.
For several months, the only remedies that occurred were for bargaining units designated as essential who had access to arbitration. Recently, support staff and college faculty were able to reach a remedy agreement with their employer, the College Employer Council (CEC), something attributable to their non-reliance on direct provincial funding.
All other workers without rights to arbitration working for the civil service (OPS) or the many arm’s length agencies of government funded by it, remain without recourse pending the June appeal’s outcome.
Unions remain optimistic that a second loss in appeal court (the decision we all await), coupled with the many arbitration decisions that have occurred to date, will see the government finally provide the OPS Employer direction to deal with civil and broader public servants’ remedy to Bill 124.
This is a reminder that there are three possible outcomes to the appeal:
1.) If the government’s appeal is successful — the coalition of unions will appeal that decision and continue to fight.
2.) If the government loses their appeal — they may request leave from the Supreme Court to appeal that decision as well, or;
3.) the government may consider using the notwithstanding clause — an option that would be complicated for them by recent arbitration decisions awarding remedy to bargaining units who do not have the ability to strike, and by the strong public outcry that followed the use of the clause last fall.
What happens now?
Rest assured that AMAPCEO will continue to put pressure on the Employer to negotiate a remedy for OPS members, and that, as part of the larger coalition of unions, we will continue to fight Bill 124, an unconscionable violation of Charter rights, every step of the way.
We will inform members via email as soon as the Court of Appeals renders its decision, so we encourage all members to ensure their subscription preferences are up to date.