Ontario Nurses’ Association Outraged at Ford Government’s Denial to Exempt Nurses, Health-Care Professionals from Bill 124

January 15, 2021

Files Evidence to Ontario Superior Court of Justice Today in Charter Challenge

TORONTO, Ont., January 15, 2021 – Outraged at the provincial government’s denial to exempt the front-line registered nurses (RNs), nurse practitioners (NPs) and health-care professionals from its wage-suppression legislation, Bill 124, today, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) is filing thousands of pages of evidence from front-line registered nurses to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

“ONA formally requested, almost one year ago, that this government exempt RNs from Bill 124, which we believe breaches the Charter of Rights,” says ONA President Vicki McKenna, RN. “It is evident that the bill strips RNs’ collective bargaining rights to freely negotiate a collective agreement. Not only is it insulting that this government failed to respond to our request for close to a full year, but to deny RNs their Charter rights in the midst of a global pandemic is so disrespectful and hard to bear.”

Today, ONA is filing thousands of pages of evidence to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which will hear ONA’s Charter Challenge.

“ONA will continue to fight for dignity, equality and respect for our members,” says McKenna. “The evidence we are filing includes affidavits from our front-line members who provide care in many health-care sectors, including hospitals, long-term care homes, home and community care,” she notes. “In addition, we will file evidence from two experts on gender discrimination and health care, and collective bargaining to support our case. We will argue that Bill 124 violates our members’ constitutional rights to engage in free collective bargaining, discriminates against RNs on the basis of sex, and engages in systemic racial discrimination.

“This government has, unfortunately, chosen to force ONA with no alternative but to go to the court,” says McKenna. “The evidence on Bill 124 is clear to us, and recently backed up by an arbitrator whose decision noted that his hands were tied by Bill 124 when it came to determining monetary issues for RNs.”

Front-line RNs have been so dedicated in providing care for their patients throughout the pandemic, says McKenna, and deserve to have the same rights as every other Canadian upheld.

ONA is the union representing more than 68,000 registered nurses and health-care professionals, as well as 18,000 nursing student affiliates, providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

For more information: 

Sheree Bond
(416) 986-8240 (cell)