The Ontario government recently introduced the Putting Students First Act in an attempt to battle a $15 billion deficit by freezing teachers’ wages for two years. The proposed legislation, if passed, would require public teachers in Ontario to negotiate or accept local agreements that incorporate the following conditions:
Under the proposed legislation, which is reflective of the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding reached between the Ontario Government and the English Catholic and francophone teachers, the Government would have the power to ban strikes and lockouts. Any school board that fails to reach an approved agreement by December 31, 2012, risks having agreements imposed by the Minister of Education.
The public teachers’ unions have stated an intention to challenge the constitutionality of the Putting Students First Act. However, the proposed legislation is similar in many ways to federal legislation imposing wage freezes in other sectors which have been recently upheld by the courts as being a reasonable response to fiscal demands.
If you have any questions about wage freezes, or any other questions relating to workplace law, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.
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