In the News May 11
Ontario Election 2022
All Out to Support Hospital Workers Speaking Out for Workers’ and Patients’ Rights
Hospital workers, members of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU) of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) kicked off a series of rallies across the province with a spirited lunch-hour rally on May 5. The actions are to demand the repeal of Bill 124, the so-called Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, and to back the demands that the unions have presented in current negotiations with the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) for renewal of collective agreements.
This Bill received Royal Assent in November 2019. It imposes a series of three-year “moderation periods,” where salary and total compensation for most hospitals, crown agencies, universities and other public service institutions is capped at one per cent per year. Besides other things, Bill 124 breaches the right to free collective bargaining under the freedom of association guarantee in s. 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In the fall of 2020, in the throes of the pandemic, Premier Doug Ford said that if it was up to him, he would pay health care workers way more than the bill allows. “[B]ecause they’re seriously underpaid,” he said. What are Ontarians to think about what is called a democracy when it is his own legislation that prevents them from trying to negotiate appropriate increases to their compensation? It is a statement which shows the need for the workers and people of Ontario to establish a democracy of their own where it is their interests which prevail.
The rally, in front of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, was the first of five regional rallies to be held at hospitals across the province this month. A second rally was held May 6 at Lakeridge Hospital in Oshawa.
Ontario Political Forum, posted May 11, 2022.