An Ontario Judge has found in favour of teachers unions, ruling that the provincial Government ”substantially interfered” with their right to collective bargaining.
The ruling centres around Bill 115 which was introduced in 2012 and imposed contracts on teachers, freezing some of their wages, cutting benefits and limiting their ability to strike.
The introduction of this bill, prompted several teachers unions including the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation as well as the the Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union to launch a charter challenge.
On Wednesday, Justice Thomas Lederer ruled in favour of the unions.
The unions and the provincial Government are now required to meet to determine a remedy, however if they are unable to reach agreement the matter will be referred back to Justice Lederer for a decision.
The ruling has been broadly welcomed by the teachers unions involved in the case, with ETFO President Sam Hammond issuing a statement saying that ”this is total vindication of our pursuit of democratic rights on behalf of our members” adding that ”Bill 115 blatantly interfered with lawful collective bargaining activities in the education sector for three years.”
President of the OSSTF, Paul Elliott has also reacted by saying the decision ”reconfirmed the importance of free, fair and meaningful collective bargaining” and that “Justice Lederer confirmed what we believed all along.”
Meanwhile a spokesperson for Education Minister, Liz Sandals says that they are reviewing the decision by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.