Billions at stake as Ontario takes public sector workers to Court of Appeal

Canada Global (Web News) As a three-day hearing at Ontario’s top court on the contentious wage-limiting law for public sector workers gets under way on Tuesday, millions of dollars are on the line.

The Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, or Bill 124, was declared unconstitutional in November of last year by a judge from the Superior Court of Justice.

Province filed an appeal.

In Ontario, there are around 780,000 people employed in the general public sector, including teachers, nurses, and the majority of the province’s employees. In accordance with Bill 124, which was passed into law in 2019, their pay may only increase by 1% year for three years.

If the statute is upheld, according to the province’s budget inspector, the government owes public sector employees $8.4 billion over a five-year period. In response to the decision, Ontario has already paid out approximately $1 billion to workers who recently requested a reopening of their contracts through arbitration.

The province claimed in its factum submitted to the Court of Appeal that Justice Markus Koehnen committed “fundamental legal errors.”

According to the province, the statute does not impede collective rights to free and equitable bargaining.

More than ten organisations opposed to Bill 124 assert that it does.

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