Following today’s decision by Justice Belobaba to strike down key portions of Bill 5, CUPE Ontario’s President Fred Hahn praised the thousands of Ontarians who took part in the campaign to protect local democracy.

Bill 5 attempted to cut the size of Toronto city council by close to half months after candidates had already been registered, raised money and asked volunteers to work hard on their behalf. The bill was rammed through the legislature in the dead of summer, leaving many in other communities wondering if they’ll be next.

“Today’s victory belongs to everyone who signed a petition, called their MPP or Councillor, and made their voices heard in the face of a reckless attack on our democracy,” said Hahn. “Judge Belobaba’s ruling shows Premier Ford can’t just steamroll our democracy to settle his personal vendettas.”

CUPE provided funding for the legal challenge brought by candidate Chris Moise and electors Ish Aderonmu and Prabha Khosla. One of a group of cases that challenged the constitutionality of Bill 5, the three represent a diversity of communities not currently reflected in the makeup of Toronto city council, who would have been further harmed if the Bill had been allowed to stand.

“When Doug Ford tried to ram through this bill, he tried to silence newcomers to the political process and underrepresented voices. Many candidates, particularly people of colour, LGBTQ, and young candidates, who have put their lives on hold to run for office, will now get their fair chance to express themselves in a free and fair election.”

“Now that Bill 5 has been deemed unconstitutional, the election must be allowed to unfold as it had originally been planned,” said Hahn. “Any other attempts to interfere in the democratic process will only make an already difficult situation worse.”

Hahn urged residents to fight Ford’s agenda by electing progressive candidates across the province. “Judge Belobaba’s ruling is a huge victory. It provides the fuel and hope we need to push back against Ford’s reckless agenda of cuts. We must continue to stand up for our communities and our democracy.”

Ontario’s municipal elections will happen on October 22nd, 2018.