Ontario Nurses Association’s legal challenge to Bill 124 begins
TORONTO, September 12, 2022 /CNW/ – After Charter Challenge to Ford Government’s Wage Cut Legislation – Bill 124 – Nurses Association of Ontario (ONA) Makes the Case for Fairness for nurses at from Ontario Superior Court of Justice today.
Passed by the Ford government in 2019, Bill 124 imposes a hard cap of 1% per year on salaries and benefits for nurses and other healthcare professionals for a period of three years.
“The ONA will argue in court that Bill 124 violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms by interfering with the right of nurses and health care professionals to freely negotiate a contract,” says ONA President Cathryn Hoy, RN “The government’s draconian salary cap is out of touch with the severe nursing crisis and high demand for healthcare professionals during one of the worst pandemics of the last century. The Bill tramples on the rights of our members and has perpetuated gender discrimination against our predominantly female profession – which we say is contrary to the charter.”
“We filed thousands of pages of evidence in support of our case,” Hoy says, including evidence that was bolstered by an arbitrator who ruled his hands were tied by Bill 124. “Bill 124 has had a huge impact on the province’s ability to retain and recruit nurses and, three years into the pandemic, it has had a huge impact on the health care system and on those who have need to access the care that our members provide. »
Eliminating Bill 124 would bring immediate relief to the province’s severe nursing shortage, Hoy says. “Removing Bill 124 and restoring the rights and respect of healthcare professionals in the province would go a long way to retaining the nurses we have and bringing back the ones we have lost to the system.”
Hoy says: “So far it seems this government would rather escalate the crisis it has created in health care and keep the bill on the books than simply repeal it. They have pledged to spend millions of our taxpayer dollars fighting us in court, rather than respecting the workers they say they value.”
“It’s a relief to finally have our day in court on behalf of our frontline nurses and healthcare professionals, who have sacrificed so much,” Hoy said. “They deserve more than the same rights as all other restored workers.”
The ONA is the union that represents more than 68,000 registered nurses and health professionals, as well as 18,000 affiliated nursing students, who provide care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, community, clinics and industry.
SOURCE Ontario Nurses Association
For further information: For an interview, please contact: Katherine Russo, [email protected]647-539-1925