OPSEU education workers to get $2.75 million in damages over Bill 115

'Huge win for workers': Union president

Education workers in the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) will receive $2.75 million in damages for the loss of collective bargaining rights under Ontario’s Putting Students First Act, better known as Bill 115, said the union on June 2.

“This settlement is a huge win for workers, not just in the affected bargaining units, but right across Canada,” said Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU president. “It affirms once again that workers’ right to unionize and take part in collective bargaining is a right protected by the charter, and it lets governments know that violating that right comes with a price tag."

OPSEU was one of five unions that challenged the act in court after it was introduced in 2012. In April 2016, Superior Court of Justice judge Tom Lederer ruled that Bill 115 had violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

In his ruling, Lederer said the government had made it “impossible for true collective bargaining to take place.”

OPSEU entered into negotiations with the province following the ruling, resulting in the $2.75 million settlement, according to OPSEU.

The union represents approximately 2,700 workers at seven school boards around Ontario.

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