CUPE’s education workers in Ontario, alongside the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO), the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), and the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU) will be back in court to challenge the constitutionality of Bill 115, starting Monday, December 14. UNIFOR also has intervenor status in the case.
The court challenge was filed in 2013 after Bill 115 stripped workers in the education sector of their rights to bargain collectively. CUPE’s position has always been that this bill violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It was postponed at the request of the province in 2014.
“This legislation stripped education workers of rights that are guaranteed under the Charter,” said Terri Preston, representing 55,000 of CUPE’s members in the education sector. “We joined forces with other unions because it’s clear that Bill 115, unchallenged, threatens all Canadian workers. We expect it will be found unconstitutional by the Court.”
“Since the time we filed this lawsuit, unions won a major victory at the Supreme Court of Canada with the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour case on the issue of right-to-strike,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “CUPE was one of the lead unions on that case, and because of that decision, which recognizes the right to strike as a fundamental, guaranteed right in Canada, we are especially confident in our position on Bill 115. It was a mistake for Ontario’s education minister to impose collective agreements, to strip the right to strike from workers. We are looking forward to making those arguments in court next week.”
The court challenge will start Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. at Osgoode Hall in Toronto.
CUPE represents 55,000 education workers in Ontario, including custodians, administrative and clerical staff, educational assistants, instructors, tradespeople, early childhood educators, and many more, across all four school board systems (English and French, Catholic and public).
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