ATU Canada Condemns Ford’s Unconstitutional and Undemocratic Attack on Political Rights of Ontario’s Labour Unions

TORONTO – ATU Canada’s National President, John Di Nino, is condemning Ontario Premier, Doug Ford’s attack on Canada’s labour unions. In an announcement made today by the provincial government, Ford said he intends to recall the legislature on Thursday to invoke the notwithstanding clause to pass legislation ruled unconstitutional by the Superior Court yesterday to restrict third-party spending laws outside of election periods. If invoked, this will be the first time any Ontario government has ever invoked the notwithstanding clause. 

The legislation that sought to restrict third-party spending from six to twelve months in the pre-election period was ruled unconstitutional by Justice Ed Morgan on Tuesday. According to Morgan and the Superior Court of Ontario, several sections of the Election Finances Act tabled by the province this year infringe on rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms 

“No other jurisdiction in Canada has rules that are this harsh when it comes to pre-election spending.” Said Di Nino. “It’s clear that this is a full-scale attack on the labour movement in Ontario.” 

The challenge to the initial legislation was brought forward by several teachers’ unions in Ontario and was supported by many in the labour movement. If this legislation were to pass, Ontario would have the largest pre-election third-party spending rules by a significant margin.  

Ford justified his government’s use of the controversial notwithstanding clause by comparing third-party spending in Canada to American SuperPACs. However, while his government is attempting to limit the spending power of third parties outside of elections, he is at the same time raising the donation limit from $1200 to $3300 in the next provincial election which many have said will hurt the fairness of elections.    

Ford knows what he is doing and it’s not to protect the average Ontario voter.” Said Di Nino. “By limiting the political power of unions, he is limiting the power of working-class people and empowering his big money corporate donors.” 


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Sam Hersh