Teachers, education workers take McGuinty to court

Teachers, education workers take McGuinty to court

Launching Charter challenge to defend democratic rights of Ontarians.

The Ontario government is being taken to court by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and [CUPE, OSSTF] because of legislation they say violates the fundamental rights of working people in Ontario.

Today ETFO filed a court challenge against the Ontario government’s Bill 115 on grounds that the law, which strips the education sector of its right to bargain collectively, violates rights set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We want all Ontarians to understand that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms exists to protect the rights of individuals, even when governments seek to override them.  That is the strength and backbone of democracy in Canada,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond.

Similar challenges are also being filed by the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation (OSSTF), Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario, and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). Lawyers for the groups hope to have the challenges heard together by the court.

“Ontarians, and indeed all Canadians, need to be assured that no government will be permitted to attempt to drastically undermine employee democratic rights without facing the strongest possible challenge.  Today we are also asking the Ontario government to recognize these rights and repeal Bill 115.”

In his remarks outside the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Hammond pointed out that the Charter guarantees the right of people to organize, engage in collective bargaining, and withdraw services to advance workplace goals. “This is a right we will fight for all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada,” he said.

“The Charter also guarantees the right not to be deprived of fundamental rights. It protects employees from being forced to work under terms and conditions which are coerced, dictated, or imposed by the state. Certainly Bill 115 violates these rights on many counts.”

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

For more information, contact:  Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations: Cell: 416-948-0195

photocredit:  theindignants.org    London, Ontario’s Beal Secondary School student walkout to “Kill the Bill”, Friday Oct 5th, 12:35pm