ETFO’s Charter Challenge Against Bill 11...
In December 2015, ETFO made the case at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that the provincial government violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it enacted unprecedented legislation in 2012 (i.e., the Putting Students First Act, more commonly known as Bill 115) that stripped the education sector of its right to bargain collectively.
The decision regarding our court challenge was released on April 20, 2016 and the decision confirms that the Ontario government violated the Charter rights of ETFO and other unions’ members when it stripped collective bargaining rights through Bill 115.
In the words of Justice J. Lederer, “I find that between the fall of 2011 and the passage of the Putting Students First Act, Ontario infringed on the applicants’ right, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, to meaningful collective bargaining. When reviewed in the context of the Charter and the rights it provides, it becomes apparent that the process engaged in was fundamentally flawed. It could not, by design, provide meaningful collective bargaining.” [paragraphs 134-135]
On Friday, April 13, 2018, ETFO filed an unfair labour practice complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) against Ontario's Liberal government.
ETFO's concerns are based on the Liberal government's conduct during and after the 2014 round of central bargaining. In its complaint, ETFO details how the Liberal government:
made payouts worth tens of millions of dollars to unions and employee bargaining agencies that did not challenge and, in fact, cooperated in the Liberals' agenda to strip education sector workers' collective agreements during the 2012 round of education sector bargaining under Bill 115;
engaged in coercion and reprisals, and discriminated against ETFO members because their union successfully challenged the violation of its members' constitutionally protected rights under Bill 115; and
bargained in bad faith during 2014 education sector negotiations by consistently representing that all four of Ontario's teacher unions would be receiving substantially identical financial settlements for their 2014-2017 collective agreements.
ETFO's complaint alleges that the Liberal government's actions violated five sections (Sections 5, 17, 70, 72, and 76) of Ontario's Labour Relations Act, 1995 and three sections (Sections 4, 29 and 32) of the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014 (also known as Bill 122).
The Liberal government's conduct only recently came to light when it confirmed it would be providing financial payouts to two of four teacher unions in the province (as well as other organizations that negotiate on behalf of education sector employees) totalling tens of millions of dollars, essentially for their non-participation in the Bill 115 Charter challenge. ETFO's complaint includes a request for production of all documents related to these recent settlements.
ETFO is seeking the following corrective action from the OLRB: