TORONTO - The most contentious piece of education-related law proposed by Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario government became law Tuesday.
Bill 115 - the Putting Students First Act - was approved in the Ontario legislature in an 82-15 vote.
It imposes a wage freeze, the end of sick-day banks and a two-year strike ban, over the objections of unions representing most of the province’s teachers and school staff.
“We are being very careful in terms of respecting the law,” McGuinty said Monday. “We are being determined in our effort to collectively bargain as much as we can ... If we cannot obtain a result through collective bargaining that achieves our fiscal results, then we will not hesitate to act because we believe that’s in the public interest.”
Leaders for the province’s public elementary and secondary school teacher associations and for the school staff union are to comment later Tuesday on the bill’s implications.
PC Leader Tim Hudak has said that he prefers a province-wide wage freeze for the broader public service - he thinks that’s a more equitable way to deal
with the province’s large deficit - but said he is prepared to accept “half a loaf.”