Constitutional challenge to Bill 124 begins hearings
Publish date: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 update
A coalition of unions representing more than 270,000 public sector workers—including AMAPCEO members—is presenting its arguments to the Superior Court of Justice this week as part of its challenge to the government’s Bill 124.
The legislation limits public sector workers’ compensation increases to a maximum of one per cent a year for three years—including for unionized workers as their contracts expire.
“Taking away all public servants’ constitutionally-protected rights and capping our wage increases is no way for an employer to treat its most valuable resources—its employees,” said AMAPCEO President Dave Bulmer.
“And It’s certainly no way to treat AMAPCEO members, who rose to the occasion when the pandemic started, using our creativity, experience, and dedication to respond to the emergency in ingenious new ways.”
Enacted in 2019, Bill 124 has had devastating effects on the public service, most visibly in the healthcare sector, where it has worsened staffing pressures after decades of cuts and underfunding.
AMAPCEO is a founding member of the coalition, which unites more than 40 unions in the fight against Bill 124.
“We are confident Bill 124 will eventually be struck down, and our rights restored,” Bulmer said.
Similar legislation in Ontario was found to be unconstitutional. Hundreds of millions of dollars were awarded to workers affected by Bill 115, the Putting Students First Act, which passed in 2012. Following a four-year legal challenge, the court found the act infringed on teachers and education workers’ rights to meaningful collective bargaining.
More about AMAPCEO and our Members: Established in 1992, AMAPCEO is a bargaining agent that represents 14,000 professional and supervisory public servants, most of whom work directly for the Government of Ontario in every ministry and in a number of agencies, boards and commissions; in 130 communities throughout Ontario and in 12 cities outside Canada. We also represent employees outside the Ontario Public Service in: the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario; the Ontario Arts Council; Ontario Health (Quality Unit); Public Health Ontario; the Waypoint Mental Health Centre in Penetanguishene; and in the former Offices of the Ontario Child Advocate and the French Language Services Commissioner (now part of the Ontario Ombudsman).