Sad day for Ontario as Canada marks Democracy Week

TORONTO, Sept. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - With this week's law that strips educators of their collective bargaining rights, the province of Ontario has nothing to celebrate as the country marks Canada's Democracy Week, according to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

"The Liberal government and Progressive Conservative party members who voted for Bill 115 should hang their heads in shame at how they have willfully abrogated the rights of Ontario workers," said ETFO President Sam Hammond on the eve of the International Day of Democracy on September 15.

"Increasingly, Bill 115 will be looked upon as one of the most damaging pieces of legislation ever to affect the rights of individuals - well beyond any wage restraint or back-to-work legislation previously enacted in Ontario."

Bill 115 bans lawful collective bargaining activities in the education sector for two - and possibly three - years. It seeks to put the actions of the provincial government beyond the review of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, outside the reach of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and even above the courts.

"Ontarians need to ask themselves who is next, because the fundamental rights of working people in this province are under siege. This legislation has negative implications on sectors beyond education that also engage in lawful bargaining," said President Hammond.

Bill 115 was imposed before education unions had the opportunity to bargain in a meaningful way with local school boards. ETFO and other unions will challenge the constitutionality of the law all the way to the Supreme Court.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 76,000 elementary public school teachers and education professionals across the province and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.

SOURCE: Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

For further information:

Valerie Dugale, ETFO Media Relations: Cell: 416-948-0195

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Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

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