The Ford government introduced legislation on October 31, 2022, that was fast-tracked into law on November 3, invoking the notwithstanding clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This legislation forcibly imposes a four-year collective agreement on CUPE workers in Ontario’s public school system, quashing their union’s legal right to free and fair collective bargaining and job action, including the right to strike.
The provincial government's use of the notwithstanding clause to override workers’ rights sets a chilling precedent with serious implications for all workers. Bill 28, The Keeping Students in Class Act, 2022, removes or limits the rights and protections of workers under the Ontario Human Rights Code, while limiting the jurisdiction of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, arbitrators, and other tribunals. Queer Ontario condemns the Ford government’s unprecedented legislation. This government's flagrant misuse of the notwithstanding clause is a precedent-setting overreach in its assault on labour relations, fair collective bargaining, and human rights. Ford, and Education Minister Stephen Lecce, are targeting the lowest compensated workers in the education system, many of whom are racialized and two thirds of whom are women. In a world in which democracy is increasingly under attack, it is appalling to see that the Government of Ontario under Ford has decided to join that attack by weakening the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Queer Ontario stands in solidarity with CUPE's 55,000 education workers across the province as they fight for better working conditions, quality public education that meets student needs, including those with special needs, and for economic and labour justice.
In solidarity with Ontario workers!