Saturday, March 2, 2024

Ontario prime court docket guidelines on constitutionality of Invoice 124

The legislation capped wage will increase for public sector employees to 1 per cent a yr for 3 years.

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Ontario’s prime court docket is ready to rule at the moment on the constitutionality of a legislation that restricted raises for multiple million employees within the broader public sector, together with nurses and lecturers.

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The Progressive Conservatives enacted the legislation, generally known as Invoice 124, in 2019 as a method to assist the federal government remove a deficit.

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It capped wage will increase for public sector employees to 1 per cent a yr for 3 years.

The legislation sparked widespread outrage amongst labour teams and opposition events, with its results on the well being sector a selected focus as critics say it’s partly liable for driving nurses out of the career or into personal nursing companies, the place the pay is considerably larger for a similar work.

Labour teams and unions representing a whole bunch of hundreds of public sector staff challenged the legislation, and the Ontario Superior Court docket in late 2022 discovered it infringed collective bargaining rights, putting it down as unconstitutional.

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The federal government appealed and the Enchantment Court docket says its resolution will likely be launched at the moment.

Because the legislation was struck down, even whereas pending attraction, arbitrators have awarded further retroactive pay to a number of teams of employees that had “reopener” clauses of their contracts, together with lecturers, nurses, different hospital employees, public servants, ORNGE air ambulance paramedics, and faculty school.

A number of hospitals have instructed a legislative committee conducting pre-budget hearings that the Invoice 124 reopener arbitration rulings are straining their budgets, although the federal government has dedicated to reimbursing them.

“Invoice 124 settlements are driving hospitals into extraordinary money movement difficulties, threatening our monetary viability and forcing delay of crucial capital purchases,” Sherri McCullough, board chair of Kingston Well being Sciences Centre, instructed the committee final month.

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Ontario’s monetary accountability officer stated in 2022 that Invoice 124 was set to save lots of the province $9.7 billion on public-sector salaries and wages, although a profitable court docket problem would all however wipe that out.

That would price the province $8.4 billion over 5 years, he stated.

Although the 2019 legislation was time restricted for a three-year interval, it’s nonetheless affecting collective bargaining now due to when some earlier contracts expired and the size of some negotiations.

Ontario Provincial Police lately began bargaining for a brand new contract, which might be topic to Invoice 124 if the legislation was in drive.

As nicely, the province’s correctional officers late final yr acquired will increase of 9.5 per cent over three years after Invoice 124 was struck down partway via their bargaining course of.

Whichever method the Enchantment Court docket ruling goes, one of many sides could search depart to attraction on the Supreme Court docket.

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