Ontario Government Appeals Court Ruling Striking Down Bill 124

Ontario Government Appeals Court Ruling Striking Down Bill 124

On December 29, the Ontario government formally filed its appeal of Ontario Superior Court Justice Markus Koehnen’s ruling that made Bill 124 null and void. The government asserts in its filing that the judge erred in ruling that Bill 124 infringes on the applicants’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Spokesperson for Attorney General Doug Downey, Andrew Kennedy, provided no justification for appealing the ruling. “As this matter remains before the courts, it would be inappropriate to comment further,” he told CBC Toronto.

Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates said in a news release, “Bill 124 has severely impacted workers’ living standards and worsened issues like the staffing crisis in our overburdened health care system.”

“Right now, the Ford government should be focused on taking meaningful action to address the simultaneous cost-of-living and health care crises in this province. Instead, they are choosing to spend public dollars to fight workers in court,” she said.

The Ontario Nurses’ Association said, “[Ford] should have done the right thing and accepted the court’s clear decision. Now, hundreds of thousands of public dollars will be wasted fighting workers in court.”

Sharleen Stewart, President of Service Employees International Union Healthcare, the union for some 60,000 health care workers, said in a news release, “Premier Ford’s anti-worker decision to appeal the ruling of Ontario’s Superior Court, which [on November 29] overturned Bill 124, is an attack on people serving on the front line of care that will further damage health care delivery and cause already record wait times for health services to grow longer.”

Bill 124 prevented collective bargaining for wage increases of more then one per cent for some 780,000 public sector workers. It was ruled unconstitutional on November 29, 2022 by Justice Koehnen, because it infringed on workers’ right to freedom of association under section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.