Justin Trudeau again speaks out against the use of the notwithstanding clause

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Justin Trudeau again speaks out against the use of the notwithstanding clause

Prime Minister Trudeau deplored the use of the notwithstanding provision in Bill 28 by the Ford government, during a press briefing.

In Toronto on Friday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau deplored the use of the notwithstanding clause by the Ford government in its special law adopted Thursday to try to prevent a strike in the sector education.

The 55,000 workers defied the law and thousands of them demonstrated on Friday, with the support of unions and citizens.

Mr. Trudeau had contacted Prime Minister Ford on Tuesday asking him not to use the provision, also known as the notwithstanding clause.

He urged Canadians to rise up against the use of the derogation to suspend fundamental rights.

“It is up to us as Canadians to raise our voices loud and clear to say that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms which protects us is essential and must not be circumvented.

—Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

It is no small thing to suspend the fundamental rights of Canadians, particularly, in this case, the right to negotiate collective agreements, the rights of workers to demand better working conditions, he said. .

I spoke to union leaders to confirm that we were going to be there to defend people's fundamental rights, he continued. We are looking at all our options.

The Prime Minister stressed that the decision to suspend or circumvent these fundamental rights should only be taken in the most extreme circumstances.

Support staff at Ontario schools accuse Premier Doug Ford of bullying.

Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce on Thursday filed a complaint with the Labor Relations Board against striking school support workers.

Several thousand of the union members on strike (teachers' aides, janitors, librarians, etc.) demonstrated in the street near the Legislative Assembly in Toronto on Friday morning. Strikers also protested outside the constituency offices of Progressive Conservative MPs.

Many school boards closed their schools for the day due to this strike.

Natasha Dupuis-MacDonald is live from Queen's Park where hundreds of education support workers are on strike.

Union workers face a fine of up to $4,000 each for each day of illegal walkouts, according to special legislation passed Thursday by the province.

Canadian Union of Employees (CUPE), which represents them, has promised to cover any fines imposed on its members. The syndicate itself faces a fine of up to half a million dollars a day.

“If they take away the right to strike, what's left? »

— Aziz, janitor at a French school from Conseil MonAvenir

It must be a reasonable [salary] increase with inflation, he adds. Prices have doubled everywhere. We have families.

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The special law imposes a four-year labor contract on union members that limits increases to 2.5% per year for employees earning less than $43,000 and 1 .5% for others.

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CUPE says strike will last as long as necessary.

Education Minister Stephen Lecce counters that nothing is more important right now than getting all students back to class.

“We're going to use all the tools at our disposal to make this happen.

—Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education

Ford government and school support workers disagree on salaries, including.

< p class="e-p">CUPE Ontario President Fred Hahn said Friday morning that his members will return to the bargaining table if the government withdraws its special law.

“We are not ready to end the strike until they cancel the [special] law passed yesterday. »

— Fred Hahn, Ontario President of CUPE

CUPE represents administrative employees, janitors, early childhood educators and librarians.

Many school boards had indicated earlier in the week that their schools would be closed in the event of a walkout. The English Public School Board (TDSB), the largest in the province, had even announced that they would remain closed as long as the strike lasted.

The Ministry of Education has however urged councils on Thursday to make every effort to ensure schools are open to as many students as possible.

The Ford government has been stressing the importance of keeping students in the classroom for months after two years of disruption caused by the pandemic.

If a school board determines that it cannot maintain the healthy and safe operation of schools for students due to the planned withdrawal of services from CUPE staff, the school board must support students in a rapid transition to learning at distance, specifies the ministry's directive.

Minister of Education Stephen Lecce , reminded that it is an illegal strike.

Stephen Lecce also reminded the teachers that he expected what; they are at school on Friday.

The Ford government is currently negotiating with the teachers' unions for the renewal of their collective agreements. The president of the Association of Franco-Ontarian Teachers (AEFO), Anne Vinet-Roy, says she is “not fooled”. We know very well that this could have repercussions when we reach a similar moment in the negotiations, she argues.

The labor movement believes that the special law, and specifically the Ford government's use of the notwithstanding clause to block legal remedies, is a dangerous precedent for workers' rights.

School Board Council of Unions President Laura Walton advises parents to be prepared for an upcoming work stoppage will extend past Friday.

Many unions have expressed solidarity with school support workers, including the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Unifor and Amalgamated Transit Union (United Transportation Union). They invited their members to support the strikers or outright demonstrate alongside them.

With information provided by Myriam Eddahia and CBC

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