top of page
IUOE Canadian Office Update to all IUOE Canadian Business Managers on Bill-28 and the issues unfolding in Ontario. Bill-28 will send devastating shockwaves throughout the entire Canadian Labour Movement.

The Ontario Ford government has passed Bill 28 to pre-emptively crush job action for Ontario CUPE Educational Support workers who are struggling to secure a fair collective agreement in these high inflationary times.

As soon as Bill 28 received Royal Assent, the terms and conditions of a concessionary collective agreement were automatically imposed by this Bill are deemed to be the collective agreements in effect in every CUPE school board bargaining unit. The affected CUPE bargaining units, 70% female members, make up of the lowest paid education workers in Ontario with many earning just above the minimum wage. The imposed collective agreement will remain in force for 4 years (expiring August 31, 2026).

The overreach of Bill 28 does not end there:

  • Bill 28 overrides the Labour Relations Act and the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act, 2014.

  • Bill 28 establishes that no court, tribunal or arbitrator can alter or modify the compensation terms set out in the Act, under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or otherwise.

  • Locally-agreed terms and conditions are also overridden or made null and void.

  • Any strike or lockout in effect must terminate and employees resume duties.

  • No employee shall strike, and no person or bargaining agent shall call a strike, or threaten to call a strike, during the term of the new collective agreement (4 years).

  • The existing fines in the Labour Relations Act ($2,000 per member and $25,000 per Union) are overridden and replaced with anyone member or any bargaining agent failing to comply with Bill 28 is guilty of an offence and liable to individual fines up to a maximum of $4,000, or for a bargaining agent, up to a maximum of $500,000. Each day of failure to comply constitutes a separate offence.

  • The existing requirement that the Board consent to a prosecution is also overridden, allowing the Crown to directly prosecute individuals and bargaining agents.

  • Anyone or any bargaining agent failing to comply is guilty of an offence and liable to individual fines up to a maximum of $4,000, or for a bargaining agent, up to a maximum of $500,000. Each day of failure to comply constitutes a separate offence.

  • The Rights of Labour Act, which protect unions from lawsuits and prosecution, is also overridden so that damages can be sought against the union.

  • Section 33(1) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is invoked so that the Act and its regulations operate notwithstanding section 2, and sections 7 to 15 of the Charter.

  • The Act and its regulations also override the Human Rights Code.

  • The Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) and any arbitrator or other tribunal are also prevented from making any determination about whether the Act or its regulations, or any action taken under the Act, is constitutional or in conflict with the Human Rights Code.

  • No application may be made to the OLRB, and no person is entitled to be compensated for any loss or damages.

  • Finally, the Act gives the government broad regulation-making power to address anything not explicitly referenced in the Act.

In the face of all of this and the very real impact Bill 28 will have on individual CUPE members and CUPE Local Unions, the membership have taken strike action in a show of extreme solidarity effective November 5, 2022.

Although there are varying differences between IUOE Local Unions and Public Sector Unions, the time for solidarity among the entire Labour Community is now. Business Manager Gallagher and IUOE Local 793, despite having positioned themselves to make very real gains for the membership under the Ford government, have come out publicly in loud opposition to the Ford Government and the use of Bill 28. IUOE members could be impacted in the future if Canadian Premiers follow the lead of Ford on imposing settlements on workers. A legal strike pre-empted by involving section 33 of notwithstanding clause on work that has public financing such as schools or bridges, jails, hospitals courthouses, etc. would impact our ability to achieve fair settlements. 

Links to the public condemnation of the bill are set out below along with the attached audio from a CBC Interview Business Manager Gallagher participated in: 

This update is to impress upon the entire IUOE Canadian Organization that the events taking place in Ontario are of grave concern for the entire Canadian Labour Movement. We know we can count on you to react quickly to “asks” from the IUOE Canadian Office within the next few days as we do everything, we can to thwart this very real threat.

Patrick Campbell

Canadian Pipeline Director

International Union of Operating Engineers


bottom of page