Statement on Opposing Bill 124

The ATU was proud to stand in solidarity today with several other union leaders from Ontario in signing on to a letter to demand that political representatives at Queen Park repeal the harmful Bill 124 that dangerously underfunds Ontario’s public sector.

Bill 124 is harmful to all workers in the provincial public sector – including transit workers, like those at Metrolinx, capping wage increases to 1% a year for three years. Not only this but the wage-suppression legislation also has implications for workers across other sectors who are currently in collective bargaining with their employers or will be in the future.

Instead of lifting up workers in the public sector throughout this pandemic, Ford has consistently not only let us down, but made our situation more difficult, deciding to instead put forward legislation that supports the wealthy and well-connected instead of hard-working Ontarians.

As labour representatives stated this morning: the situation did not have to be this way. Workers could have had the support they needed, and hospitals did not have to be over capacitated. This situation is a result of political choices by the Ontario provincial governments not of any individual.

As a result of this we stand with the OFL and other labour allies calling on the provincial government to mee the demands as followed as outlined in their letter:

1. Recall the legislature for an emergency session to address the deepening public health crisis facing Ontarians.

2. Repeal Bills 124 & 195.

3. Legislate a minimum of ten permanent employer-paid sick days for all workers in the province, and ensure an additional 14 paid sick days during the pandemic. Workers who contract COVID at work must also have greater access to WSIB support.

4. Hold an emergency summit of all stakeholders in the health care system and develop a rapid response plan to hire the tens of thousands of registered nurses, registered practical nurses, personal support workers, and other health care workers required to address the staffing crisis. In the long term, Ontario requires a strategy to address the chronic underfunding of health care and other public services.

5. Require health care and educational institutions to provide airborne precautions to staff, patients, residents, and students, including fit-tested respirators for staff (e.g., N95s), enhanced ventilation (e.g., HEPA filters), and appropriate social distancing measures (e.g., smaller class sizes). The same protections must be extended to frontline workers in grocery stores, food service, transit, and other essential sectors.

6. Launch an emergency public health campaign to communicate the urgency of the situation facing Ontarians and to build broad public support for a comprehensive public health strategy.   

John Di Nino, President

ATU Canada