The coalition of unions, including CMG, CWA Canada Local 30213, that came together to jointly challenge the legality of Bill 124, has been successful. CMG welcomes the Ontario Superior Court’s decision which means that its members at TVO and TFO now have a chance at a fair, negotiated contract, especially following years of austerity. The union calls on the Ontario government to respect the court’s decision.
In his decision, Justice Koehnen found that:
“As a result of the foregoing, I have found the Act to be contrary to section 2(d) of the Charter, and not justified under s. 1 of the Charter.
Given that the entire purpose of the act is to implement the 1% limitation on wage increases in the broader public sector, there is no purpose served in reviewing the Act section by section. While it may be possible that some sections, standing entirely in isolation from each other do not violate any Charter rights, those sections have no purpose apart from enforcing the overall wage limitation that the Act imposes. As a result, I declare the Act to be void and of no effect.”
The bill is no longer in effect.
“CMG commends the collective efforts of Ontario unions and their members who came together to defend the right of workers to bargain,” said Carmel Smyth, CMG President. “Our union will soon be bargaining at the province’s educational television network, TVO, and later at the French language service TFO, and we will be looking for due consideration of workers’ concerns, a respectful negotiation process and good faith at the bargaining table.”
Smyth said that in light of this decision, CMG will also be reviewing the union agreement for members at TFO which was negotiated under the restrictions of the now void Bill 124.
Martin O’Hanlon, CWA Canada President, noted that these media workers at TVO and TFO have seen increases of zero, one or 1.5 percent for the last ten years. “That’s a decade of reduced actual earnings as the increases fail to match the inflation rate over the same period.” O’Hanlon urged the Ford government to refrain from appealing the decision. “It’s time to move away from calculated tactics to arbitrarily and unfairly diminish public service salaries and workers’ rights,” he said.