Protestors are set to rally outside Ontario’s Ministry of Labour as the government works to pass legislation that will outlaw a strike by education workers on Friday.
The Ontario Federation of Labour has organized an “emergency rally” in downtown Toronto for 5 p.m. on Tuesday.
“Education Minister Stephen Lecce is trying to pull the plug on bargaining with education workers and use legislation to forcibly impose a contract on them,” the event’s description reads.
The Ford government and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are locked in a stalled battle over contracts.
On Sunday, CUPE issued the government with its five-day notice to strike, threatening to walk off the job on Friday if a deal could not be reached.
The government responded the next day by tabling legislation that would impose a contract on CUPE and make their strike on Friday illegal. The legislation included fines for individual members guilty of breaking the anti-strike rules worth thousands of dollars.
Several school boards have said the strikes would force them to close classrooms.
“The right to free and fair collective bargaining is a fundamental freedom, protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” the emergency rally’s webpage said.
“Ford’s attack on education workers is an attack on all workers in Ontario. If he gets away with it, all other workers will face the same threat: contracts imposed by law instead of free collective bargaining.”
In a separate statement issued on Tuesday, the Ontario Nurses’ Association, which has been a key critic of the Ford government and its wage restraint legislation, said it stood in solidarity with CUPE workers.
“It is a chilling and arrogant move by a government that has repeatedly shown its disdain for female-dominated professions and the vital work they do,” the statement said.
The event is being held between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. in front of the Ministry of Labour’s offices in downtown Toronto.