People across the country should defend our charter rights, which are currently under attack in Ontario.
The Council of Canadians expresses its solidarity with the 55,000 CUPE education workers being threatened with back-to-work legislation if they strike for better working conditions. School support workers, including librarians, custodians, and early childhood educators – some of the most poorly compensated workers within Ontario’s education system – have been trying to reach a deal for a fair collective agreement with the Ontario government since August 2, 2022, but have reached a deadlock in negotiations.
In response to these workers proposing to exercise their Charter right to strike, the Ontario government has responded with the threat of back-to-work legislation, heavy fines, and the imposition of a contract. This response is in direct violation of the right to strike and the right to freedom of association through the process of democratically reaching a collective bargaining agreement with the employer.
Workers want a fair deal – and they want what’s best for students
The hard work and dedication of the 55,000 CUPE-OSBCU members is an essential part of keeping schools running and ensuring that students get the best education possible in a safe, clean environment. These skilled workers, who are present in essentially every job classification in education except as teachers and management, have been working for years, including throughout the pandemic, with wages that are well below the rate of inflation. The proposal they put forward to the Ford government called for fairness – while keeping students at the forefront.
CUPE’s Proposals for Student Success and Good Jobs called for:
- Guaranteeing increased services for students;
- Protecting service levels against cuts;
- Helping to solve school boards’ problems retaining and recruiting workers; and
- Increasing government funding for children’s education after 10 years of real cuts.
Workers have the right to strike
The Council of Canadians strongly condemns the Ford government’s plan to use the notwithstanding clause to force a contract on CUPE workers, block their constitutional right to strike, and to impose heavy fines on individuals and the union. The Keeping Students in Class 2022 Act is a profound violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and threatens the rights of workers across the country. The Act is anti-democratic and, if it goes forward, represents a grave blow to civil liberties. We commend CUPE-ÓBCU members’ courage to stand up to this anti-union legislation and defend every worker’s rights by walking off their job on Friday. The Council of Canadians is unequivocally on the side of CUPE workers.
Make your voice heard
The legislation planned by the Ford government has threatening implications for all workers everywhere in Canada. Public opinion is critically important and we must raise our voices in solidarity with CUPE workers and tell the Ford government to keep their hands-off workers rights!
Contact Minister of Education Stephen Lecce at 416-325-2600
Contact Premier Doug Ford at 416-325-1941
Or go to DontBeABully.ca, send a letter to your MPP, or attend a rally near you