Bill 124

Premier Doug Ford has formally appealed the Court’s decision that deems Bill 124 to be unconstitutional and therefore is void

What Bill 124 Means:

Bill 124 came into effect on November 8, 2019 providing a three-year compensation window for non-union and unionized employees. The Act restricts wage increases to 1% per year for a three-year moderation period applying to both collective agreements and arbitration awards.

The purpose of Bill has been consistent in ensuring that Ontario’s public services remain protected. As a result, the Act sought to consider the province’s fiscal management responsibilities, seeking sustainability, which is significantly impacted by public sector compensation.


In the recent decision of Ontario English Catholic Teachers Assoc. v. His Majesty, 2022, ONSC 6658, the Court struck down the legislation as contrary to section 2(d) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the right to freedom of association. In doing so, it noted six ways that Bill 124 challenged collective bargaining and workers’ rights:

  • It limits “the scope of bargaining over wage increases”;
  • It prevents unions from “trading off salary demands against non-monetary benefits”;
  • It prevents the collective bargaining process from addressing staff shortages;
  • It interferes with the convenience of the right to strike;
  • It intervenes with the autonomy of interest arbitration; and
  • It contributes to an imbalance of power, jeopardizing the employer and employee relationship.

Justice Markus Koehnen concluded that:

“In determining whether the right to a process of collective bargaining has been infringed, the courts assess whether the measure disrupts the balance of power between employees and employer necessary to ensure the meaningful pursuit of workplace goals so as to “substantially interfere” with meaningful collective bargaining.”

The Ontario Government has formally appealed the decision.

The province has argued that the law did not necessarily infringe on constitutional rights. The consideration is that the Charter is meant to protect the process of bargaining and not the outcome and that ensuring sustainability is a valid objective. The Ontario Government also notes the Bill is a time-limited approach, which has clearly outlined the intention to control costs, eliminating the deficit that has been increasingly affecting the province. For now, Bill 124 does not exist, which will surely have an impact on collective bargaining for the public sector. We will keep you posted.