TORONTO, Nov. 29,
2022 /CNW/ - An Ontario court ruling that struck down
Bill 124 is being heralded by members of the Registered Nurses'
Association of Ontario (RNAO).
Nurses are dismayed at news that the government intends to appeal
the court ruling. RNAO urges Premier Doug
Ford to respect the court's decision to avoid further
instability to a health-care system already in crisis.
The Superior Court of Justice has declared Bill 124 to be "void
and of no effect," as it violates Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Judge
Markus Koehnen ruled that this wage
restraint legislation unjustifiably infringed collective bargaining
rights for nurses and other public sector workers.
RNAO's President Dr. Claudette
Holloway thanks the court for its decision, saying it is a
great day for nurses across the province who have been demanding
that the Ford government repeal Bill 124. She also congratulates
the applicants in the case, including the Ontario Nurses'
Association (ONA). "This legislation has been a thorn in the side
of the nursing profession since 2019 when it was brought in. It
capped annual salary increases at one per cent and led to an exodus
of nurses from the profession. Bill 124 conveyed to nurses that
their expertise was not valued nor respected."
Agreeing with the concerns raised by RNAO, ONA, and many other
health and social service organizations, the judge writes that "the
Act coincided with a serious long-term recruitment and retention
crisis in the health care, home care, hospital, and long-term care
sectors. The Act has prevented employers and unions from
negotiating solutions to address this crisis even though the
government's own study linked the staffing crisis to compensation.
The inability to address staffing issues directly affects the
working conditions of the remaining employees." Holloway notes that
"appealing the court's ruling will further exacerbate the nursing
RNAO CEO Dr. Doris Grinspun calls
news of the court's ruling "a good day for democracy and a good day
for Ontario." She says Bill 124
affected a huge swath of public sector workers, damaging the
province's social fabric. Grinspun has already implored Premier
Ford directly and in public to respect the court's decision. She
says the rights of nurses to bargain for competitive compensation,
job security and working conditions "must be sacred always, and
especially during their prolonged and devastating fight against
COVID-19 that has left many exhausted and burnt out. Nurses and all
public service employees have given our province and Ontarians
their all. Now is the chance for Premier Ford to give back."
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association
representing registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing
students in Ontario. Since 1925,
RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence
in nursing practice, increased nurses' contribution to shaping the
health system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the
public we serve. For more information about RNAO,
visit RNAO.ca or follow us on
Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
SOURCE Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario