Bill 124 again found unconstitutional

On February 12, 2024, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, released its decision on Bill 124 – legislation that capped wages for unionized public sector employees, including YUFA members, at 1% per year for three years.  The court in a majority ruling upheld the lower court decision that the legislation is unconstitutional and a violation of the right to collective bargaining. 

Even before today’s decision, nearly all public sector employers had provided increases to unionized workers beyond the 3% limit over the three years. York University is one of the very few employers in the province that has not done so.

The University of Toronto Faculty Association was awarded a 7% increase on top of the 3% agreed to under Bill 124. Faculty at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU) and Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) gained a 5.5% increase in addition to the 3% under the unconstitutional legislation. 

At York University, the employer has offered YUFA a 3% increase on top of the 3% limit specified by Bill 124. This is less than half that of U. of T. and just slightly over half that at TMU and OCAD.

YUFA notes that for the past three years salary increases of York management staff have not been limited to 1% increases. As such, most management staff have seen significant raises as reported by the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act. For example, the compensation for one senior administrator increased by over $43,000 (12%) between 2021 and 2022 solely due to adding a new title.

On a related note, CUPE 3903 could be in a legal strike position as of February 22, 2024. Regarding Bill 124, the Employer has offered CUPE a 3.75% increase on top of the 3% limit specified by Bill 124. CUPE estimates that this would amount to a loss of real wages of 8.9% between September 2020 to September 2023 as inflation was 15.8% over this three-year period.

YUFA continues to press the Employer to make a reasonable offer to YUFA, and other campus unions, in regard to Bill 124 remediation, especially now that the legislation has again been invalidated.