Jun 20, 2023

By Jane Brown

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Billions of dollars are at stake as a hearing at Ontario’s highest court gets underway over the Doug Ford Progressive Conservatives’ wage-limiting law for public sector workers.

Last November, a judge with the Superior Court of Justice struck down the law known as Bill 124, ruling it unconstitutional.

The governing Tories appealed. Their lawyers argue the law does not interfere with the collective rights to free and fair bargaining.

But lawyers with more than 10 groups fighting Bill 124 say that it does — as did the original judge.

Bill 124 became a law in 2019 that limited the wages of 780,000 broader public sector workers to a one-percent raise per year over a three-year period.

Last week, 45,000 of these workers, all healthcare employees, received a 6.25 percent retroactive pay increase in an arbitration ruling.

Sharleen Stewart of SEIU Healthcare told Zoomer Radio’s Fight Back with Libby Znaimer, depending on the outcome of the new court proceedings they could lose the raise.

“There is a possibility that the decision could be to overturn that, which I don’t know what that would mean. I could not imagine that the government would take these increases away from these workers. But can they do it? They are doing it,” Stewart explained.

The governing PCs are seeking dismissal of the judge’s original decision while the public sector workers want the appeal to be thrown out.

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