Ontario Appeal Court rules Ford government's Bill 124 is unconstitutional

TORONTO — Ontario’s top court has ruled a controversial law that limited raises for public service workers is unconstitutional.

The Court of Appeal found in favour of the workers, which includes teachers and nurses, in a 2−1 decision.

The Progressive Conservatives enacted the law, known as Bill 124, in 2019 as a way to help the government eliminate a deficit.

It capped salary increases for public sector workers to one per cent a year for three years.

The law sparked widespread outrage among labour groups and opposition parties, with its effects on the health sector a particular focus, as critics say it’s partly responsible for driving nurses out of the profession or into private nursing agencies, where the pay is substantially higher for the same work.

Labour groups and unions representing hundreds of thousands of public sector employees challenged the law, and the Ontario Superior Court in late 2022 found it infringed on collective bargaining rights, striking it down as unconstitutional.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.

Allison Jones and Liam Casey, The Canadian Press

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