Ontario Passes Bill to Cap Public Sector Wage Increases

Doug Ford

The Ontario government has passed a bill to cap all public sector wage increases at one per cent over the next three years.

Bill 124, dubbed the "Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act," received royal assent Thursday evening.

The Progressive Conservative government is making to move as it aims to eliminate a nine-billion-dollar deficit. Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy has called the measure a "fair and time-limited approach."

The legislation, first introduced this summer, has sparked anger from major unions, which have warned it could derail ongoing contract negotiations, trigger protests and lead to a court challenge.

The legislation applies to employees at school boards, universities and colleges, hospitals, long-term care homes and other organizations.

Shortly after it passed in the legislature, the four major unions representing high school, elementary, Catholic and French teachers in the province issued a joint statement.

The unions are all currently in negotiations with the government for new contracts, and they say it tramples on collective bargaining rights.

They say that the passage of the legislation all but shatters any prospect of good faith bargaining, and they are preparing a court challenge.

With files from the Canadian Press