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ATU Celebrates Overturning of Bill 124, Abolishing Wage Cap Law for Public Sector Workers in Ontario

Silver Spring, MD – In a big victory for Ontario public workers, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), the largest transit union in North America, applauded the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for overturning Bill 124, which limited wages for public sector workers.

The bill, which was introduced by the Ford government, came into effect in 2019, capping wages for some public sector workers at one percent over a three-year period, including ATU members working in public transit. Supreme Court Justice Markus Koehnen found the bill to be unconstitutional.

“This court decision confirms what we’ve been saying about Bill 124, that it is a deliberate attack on the constitutional rights of workers,” said ATU International President John Costa. “The ATU is proud to stand with over 70 unions who challenged this unjust law that stripped union members of their right to bargain freely.”

Justice Koehnen ruled that Bill 124 substantially infringes on union members' rights to freedom of collective bargaining and association. The ruling said that Bill 124 "is not a reasonable limit on a right that can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society under s.1 of the charter." The act affecting more than 700,000 workers is now void and could cost the province billions, including potential retroactive pay.

“I recently traveled to Toronto to stand on the picket lines with our GO Transit members who, after a four-day strike, got a contract that guaranteed that their jobs won’t be contracted out,” continued Costa. “Due to Bill 124, wages were not on the table except for language we were able to secure for a wage reopener if Bill 124 was reversed. Now is the time for public sector workers to get what they are due. This decision is a victory for our public sector heroes who take care of us every single day. Doug Ford needs to stop wasting taxpayer money, accept this decision and respect our members and the vital work they do.”