Nov 01, 2022
By Jane Brown
It was an unusual 5am start Tuesday for MPPs in the Ontario Legislature.
They were up early as the governing PCs try to speed up passage of a bill which would impose a contract on education workers and ban them from going out on strike.
“We are now just 72 hours away from a strike that will impact virtually every student across Ontario. For more than 2 months we’ve been negotiating with education unions for a fair deal, one that maintains a generous pension package and benefits,” Education Minister Stephen Lecce said in his opening comments, “We came to the table looking to make a deal with a significant increase of up to 10-percent over four years because we know we have to keep kids in class.”
There is still a plan for Ontario’s 55,000 education workers to stage a province wide day of protest on Friday.
At this point it remains unclear whether the planned job action will continue on Monday, with Union President Laura Walton only saying, “that will be left up to what happens.”
She did reveal that Minister Lecce had cancelled planned negotiations for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Walton is also indicating CUPE will explore every avenue to fight the legislation, but the Tories say they intend to use the notwithstanding clause to keep the eventual law in force despite any constitutional challenges.
The clause allows the legislature to override portions of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms for a five-year term.