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Bill 122 was passed by the Legislature on April 8, 2014. The Liberals and New Democratic Party (NDP) voted in favour; the Progressive Conservative (PC) party voted against. The legislation received Royal Assent on April 8, 2014.

The final version of Bill 122 can be found at: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet&BillID=2882

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On October 22, 2013, the Minister of Education introduced provincial bargaining legislation in the Ontario Legislature. The legislation, called the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, is also referred to as “Bill 122”.

For more background information about the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014, and for information about the recent history of education sector collective bargaining in Ontario, click here.

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ETFO met with government representatives on a number of occasions since Bill 122 was introduced to discuss our concerns and propose amendments that would address those concerns.

ETFO also provided a formal submission to the government about Bill 122. ETFO’s submission included amendments designed to ensure that the proposed provincial bargaining framework would be balanced and fair, and would work in the best interest of public education in Ontario. A copy of ETFO’s submission is available here.

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Many of the amendments proposed by ETFO have been incorporated into Bill 122. They include:

  • Clarifying the role of the government in the bargaining process. The government (or Crown as it it is called in the Bill) must participate in negotiations and must abide by the Labour Relations Act. That means the government is required to engage in bargaining in good faith and not commit any bargaining-related unfair labour practices.
  • Removing the ability of the government to make unilateral decisions about what can and can’t be discussed at central bargaining tables. Issues of provincial importance must be agreed upon by all three participants at the table – ETFO, OPSBA and the government.  When there are disputes over what constitutes a central table item, the Ontario Labour Relations Board will settle those disputes.
  • Removing the ability of the government to unilaterally determine the length of collective agreements. Bill 122 provides for collective agreements of three years in length. The government must consult with the parties if it wants to pass a regulation to change the term of future collective agreements to either two or four years.
  • Removing the requirement for government approval after collective agreements have been ratified. This ability was a troubling aspect of Bill 122 for ETFO. The government is no longer able to veto agreements after they have been bargained in good faith and legitimately concluded through a ratification vote.
  • Reducing the maximum period for notice to bargain from 270 days, as originally proposed, to 180 days. A notice to bargain period of up to 270 days is considerably longer than the current minimum period specified in the Labour Relations Act or currently provided for in ETFO collective agreements. That could have resulted in a very lengthy and protracted bargaining process.

In addition, Bill 122 now includes both a mandatory and a discretionary method for extending central bargaining to non-teacher bargaining units. This will give ETFO the right to participate in central bargaining for its DECE, ESP and PSP members where the legislative requirements are met.

Bill 122 also:

  • Preserves the right to strike for both central and local issues, with no restrictions as to when strikes can take place. The provisions of the Labour Relations Act continue to apply to strikes;
  • Preserves the value and integrity of local negotiations between ETFO and individual school boards.
  • Is free from coercion, penalties, rewards or imposed deadlines.

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No. The amendments proposed by the PCs to make voluntary extracurricular activities a job requirement for teachers were not accepted and are not part of Bill 122. Voluntary extracurricular activities remain just that: voluntary.

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ETFO continues to be the bargaining agent for its members, both locally and at any provincial table.

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In the near future, ETFO will be providing more information to members about what the collective bargaining process will look like under School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014.

That information will be sent to members who are subscribers to ETFO’s enewsletters, posted on ETFO’s website, and mailed to schools through ETFO’s Steward Mailing.

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