Teachers’ unions say they will fight bill 115 all the way to the Supreme Court
Controversial anti-strike legislation, which will force Ontario teachers to accept benefits cuts and fewer sick days, will come to a final vote today.
The minority Liberals and the Conservatives are expected to team up in the legislature to ensure the passing of bill 115, to which teachers and civil libertarians are strongly opposed, as they say it violates their constitutional rights.
Bill 115 would force new contracts on teachers and educational workers in Ontario, in order to help alleviate the province’s $15 billion deficit.
The legislation is based on an agreement reached between the province and English Catholic and francophone teachers, which includes three unpaid days off in year two, and cutting annual sick days in half to 10 per year.
However, the two biggest unions representing elementary and high school teachers have rejected it and have vowed to take the fight to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has also complained about the legislation, calling it undemocratic and unconstitutional.
NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, who has opposed the bill, says it will end up costing Ontarians millions of dollars in the long run.
Education Minister Laurel Broten defends the legislation, and says the government will defend it in court if need be.