Union launches charter challenge over five-week Ontario college strike

Union launches charter challenge over five-week Ontario college strike

TORONTO – The union representing Ontario’s college faculty has launched a charter challenge of legislation that ended a five-week strike and allowed 500,000 students to return to class.

The president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union says the back-to-work legislation introduced by the Liberal government, and supported by the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, violated workers’ rights.

“The union’s rights and freedoms have been denied,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas said in a statement. “OPSEU has the right to freely negotiate a collective agreement with the College Employer Council.”

READ MORE: Ontario college strike: OPSEU promises to challenge back-to-work legislation

In November, when the legislation was passed, the union vowed to challenge it in the courts. It filed the necessary documentation Tuesday.

The union is now demanding that the collective agreement awarded through arbitration be deemed to have expired and that it and College Employer Council, which represents the province’s colleges, return to the bargaining table.

Don Sinclair, CEO of the College Employer Council, said the group appreciates the efforts of the legislators who voted to end the labour dispute.

“The government’s actions were necessary to end the strike – all efforts at the bargaining table had been exhausted,” Sinclair said in a statement.