Lise Vaugeois MPP, Thunder Bay–Superior North

Government of Ontario

West urges Conservatives to drop their Bill 124 appeal to support public sector healthcare workers

Published on April 4, 2023

QUEEN'S PARK - NDP Labour Critic Jamie West (Sudbury) is calling on Ford's Conservatives to finally drop their appeal of the court ruling that found their Bill 124 unconstitutional so that public sector health care workers can negotiate freely.

“All Ontarians have paid the price for the Premier’s wage-restraining Bill 124,” said West. “Just look at the staffing crisis that has hit our hospitals and schools as workers have quit, feeling disrespected, overworked and underpaid.”

West reminded Ford of the Ontario Superior Court’s ruling where Justice Markus Koehnen clearly said, “Bill 124 infringes on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The government used its legislative power to avoid real collective bargaining and tilt the balance of power in its favour.”

Bill 124 forced the Ontario Nurses Association’s non-profit nursing-home health care professionals to arbitration. Because of the Superior Court’s ruling, the arbitrator awarded these essential workers increased benefits, wages, premiums, and vacations. This is a small step but it shouldn’t have been necessary.

“New Democrats believe investing in nurses is the best way to improve access to timely, safe and quality health care,” said West. “Unfortunately, Ford's Conservatives treat health care heroes as health care zeros. As a result, many nurses have left the profession. We all know this. Those who remain continue to face increasing levels of violence, exhaustion, burnout, and PTSD.”

Jamie West and the Ontario NDP believe investing in nurses is the best way to improve access to timely, safe, and quality healthcare.