Ontario Government proposed Legislation: Protecting Public Services Act
The Ontario Government has announced its intention to introduce new omnibus legislation entitled the Protecting Public Services Act. Schedule 2 of the Bill would enact the Respecting Collective Bargaining Act (Public Sector) (the "RCBA"), which proposes to create a framework for government oversight of collective bargaining in the Ontario Public Sector. Should the RCBA be enacted, any collective agreement entered after the RCBA is in force would be subject to approval by the Government following consultation with the unions and the employers. We estimate that approximately 625 PIPSC members may be impacted.
In accordance with this legislation, Cabinet would develop mandates for the different affected sectors, including the health care and university sectors. Those mandates would be established with a view to deficit elimination. The RCBA would also establish a mandatory settlement review process where the Minister could ultimately impose a collective agreement if "it appears to [the responsible Minister] that the parties are not likely to be able to reach a collective agreement that would be consistent with the Province's goals to eliminate the deficit and protect the delivery of public services." Although the collective bargaining process would be allowed to run itscourse - up to and including arbitration or conciliation - the Minister would retain the right to reject any agreement resulting from the process.