Bill 124 Case: Day 10 Update
On Friday, September 23, 2022, is Day 10 in the court where unions made brief submissions in reply to some of the government’s points.
Unifor made submissions on the gender equality case. They argued that the government has an obligation to consider whether its programming and budgetary decision-making has a disproportionate effect on women. They also argued that gender discrimination could be found either where a law on its face discriminates between women and men, or, as in the case of Bill 124, in the effect of the law on the ground.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) coalition made arguments about freedom of association. They argued that government evidence focused on the very few examples where people had made improvements on non-monetary issues, rather than addressing the overwhelming evidence provided by the unions that there had been substantial interference with the right to bargain. The OFL coalition argued that there is overwhelming evidence on the record that the actual impact of Bill 124 was to affect low-wage and low-income workers.
The Ontario Nurses Association (ONA) focused on the impact of Bill 124 on the shortage of workers in the healthcare system. ONA argued that even the government’s experts agreed that there should be no restriction on wages for workers where there is a shortage.
In the end, the judge thanked all parties for their help in understanding the issues. He stressed he would read the record thoroughly, consider all the submissions made by the parties, and issue a decision in the months to come.
What everybody needs to understand is that workers don’t need to wait for the courts to decide. Premier Ford can repeal Bill 124 today.