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A lower court had ruled that “Law 124” was unconstitutional, but the Court of Appeal clarified that it did not This is only for unionized state employees.

Ontario’s Bill 124 is partly unconstitutional.

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The first Minister Doug Ford argued that Bill 124 was intended to restore Ontario's financial health. (Archive photo)

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New defeat of the Ford government in the courts: the Court of Appeal of&#x27 ;Ontario rules that “Bill 124” on the quasi-freeze of salaries in the public sector of the province is indeed unconstitutional. The government announced late Monday that it would not contest this judgment and that it would take measures in the coming weeks to repeal the law.

In 154-page ruling, Ontario's highest court says law significantly infringes on right to meaningful participation faith in negotiations and consultations on the working conditions of civil servants.

Decision no' is however not unanimous, since a judge sided with the government.

Only downside, however: the Court of Appeal considers that the lower court made an error, recalling that the law n&#x27 ;is unconstitutional only for unionized employees of the public and parapublic sectors, and not for all employees.

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The court writes that the idea that workers union members have rights under section 2d of the Charter on Freedom of Association is unknown in Canadian law.

The entire law is therefore not unconstitutional, as the Ontario Superior Court ruled in November 2022.

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Hospital workers launched a postcard campaign calling for the law to be overturned. (Archive photo)

The law limited the raises of more than one million employees to 1% per year, for three years, ;#x27;these are civil servants, nurses or teachers.

The Superior Court ruled Law 124 unconstitutional following legal action by unions, who argued that its provisions violated their right to collective bargaining.

The Ford government, however, took the case to the highest court in the province. The Progressive Conservatives argue that the salary cap was necessary to reduce the provincial debt.

Many unions of nurses and education staff had nevertheless obtained retroactive salary increases in arbitration before the Court of Appeal rendered its decision on Monday.

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Licensed practical nurses and other hospital workers demonstrated in front of the Legislature on February 22, 2022 to demand the repeal of the law on the quasi-freeze of wages in the public sector.

Strengthened by their new victory, the unions are unanimous in applauding the decision.

Ontario Secondary Teachers' Federation President Karen Littlewood says her union will always be ready to defend workers' rights whenever the Ford government encroaches on union members' rights to consultation and negotiation.

The President of the Ontario Elementary Teachers' Federation, Karen Brown, adds that union members who were unsuccessful in arbitration against the government will be able to benefit from the judgment and obtain their due.

The Court of Appeal's decision confirms what we have always said, that the law was a conservative attack on workers' rights, she said.

Ms. Brown says she hopes that this second judgment is a lesson for the government so that it never circumvents negotiations again nor trample on the democratic rights of workers.

The official opposition accuses the Ford government of wasting public funds on a legal case, but claims that the harm has already been done, because the law has already caused harm, according to her, to the province.

In a press release, NDP leader Marit Stiles writes that the law forced health and education workers to leave their profession, that it reduced the salaries of union members during the crisis housing and that it has eroded public confidence in its government.

She urges the Ford government to clean up the mess it has created by hiring nurses and paying affected public servants the salary losses they have incurred since 2019.

The leader of the Ontario Liberal Party, Bonnie Crombie, is not to be outdone. She praised the unions for taking legal action against the Ford government.

Today's decision is a huge and long overdue victory for workers who play such an important role in our lives, she said.

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The Minister Ontario Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy

In a brief statement at the end of the day, the Ford government announced that it would not appeal the decision, which would have involved going to the Supreme Court.

The province will take steps to repeal Bill 124 in its entirety in the coming weeks. Until then, it will urgently adopt regulations to exempt non-unionized and non-associated workers from the provisions of Law 124 until its repeal.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Minister of Finance, Peter Bethlenfalvy, affirmed that Bill 124 had been carefully considered before being presented to the House in 2019 in term of consultations.

M. Bethlenfalvy did not know how much this appeal cost taxpayers and said he did not know the amount of money his government will have to pay to officials who were not in arbitration.

With information from CBC< /p>

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116