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Ontario court strikes down wage restraint legislation

(Ottawa – November 30, 2022) The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) welcomes an Ontario Superior Court decision to overturn Bill 124, legislation which capped public sector wage increases at 1% a year for 3 years. The Court found that the bill violates the Charter-protected collective bargaining rights of workers, including academic staff at universities and colleges.

“This is a big win for public sector workers, including university and college staff,” said David Robinson, CAUT Executive Director. “Once again the courts have upheld the principle that when governments substantially interfere in collective bargaining, they are violating rights guaranteed in the Charter.”

A coalition of labour organizations, including the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations, challenged the law, arguing that it limits freedom of association, freedom of speech, and equality rights under the Charter. The court agreed that the act infringes on freedom of association.

The ruling, if it stands, opens the door for billions of dollars in back pay for the approximately 780,000 workers who were affected by the 1% limit since 2019.