The rights of Ontario workers to free, fair, and meaningful collective bargaining is something I have always supported. The Ford government’s decision to use legislation to impose a collective agreement violates the Charter rights of OSBCU members. And that is why I have taken a firm stand in the legislature, to insist that instead of pre-emptively introducing legislation to strong-arm essential education workers back to work, the Education Minister should be at the negotiation table, working to reach an equitable deal that will ensure our kids are safe and in school.
What is needed right now is a deal that values Ontario’s education workers with a fair contract. And I will continue to demand that this government abandon its bullying tactics and return to the negotiating table.
The fact that this is happening at a time when the government has reported a $2.1B surplus, while soaring inflation takes a heavy toll, is a reminder that Premier Doug Ford has a history of deliberately neglecting students, families, education workers, and teachers.
I know that it is because of the perseverance and commitment of our education workers that Ontario students received support throughout the pandemic. So, I know that when bargaining takes place, it is to ensure stability for education workers in the important work they do for our students.
And ensuring stability means:
*funding public education and investing in students;
*making sure schools are adequately staffed;
*paying workers fairly, considering inflation; and
*bargaining in good faith; not through legislation or the media studio.
As former Education Minister, I know that education workers are the frontline of public education. I know that these workers are fully committed to the future of our province, and I have so much respect for the work they do. That’s why I will continue to call on the Education Minister and the Ford government to respect the rights of all workers to bargain in good faith and negotiate a fair deal that meets their needs.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office.