Statement on Ford's Attack on Education Workers and Labour Rights

Horizon Ottawa denounces the Ford government's plan to remove education workers' labour rights and the government’s unprecedented and alarming use of the notwithstanding clause.

In an overwhelming 96.5% vote to strike, CUPE workers have made it clear that the government’s response to their proposals to improve their working conditions are unacceptable. These 55,000 education workers are 71-75% women and earn an average of $39,000 per year. Stephen Lecce and Doug Ford's conservatives are tabling legislation that would force striking CUPE members back to work under an insufficient and unfair collective agreement, removing their constitutional right to strike. This strategy is extremely heavy handed and will only exacerbate the problems of under-funded classrooms and under-paid staff. Horizon calls on the Ford government not to pursue these strike-breaking efforts and to instead conduct good-faith negotiations with these education workers.

Lecce and Ford have said a strike would hurt students and that's exactly what their government did time and time during the pandemic again through policies that led to unsafe learning environments for both students and education workers. Meanwhile education workers tirelessly worked to create safe learning conditions for students.

Horizon Ottawa also condemns to the highest degree the government’s use of the notwithstanding clause, a constitutional tool that allows governments to bypass the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The only government in Ontario to have ever utilized this tool is the Ford administration, setting a dangerous precedent for labour rights in the province and limiting the very small window when workers can legally go on strike.

Horizon is committed to promoting a strong publicly funded education system. During the municipal election, we advocated for school board trustees who have the best interests of students, teachers, and our communities at large in mind. We continue to support students and education workers by standing with CUPE in the fight for fair compensation.

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