Ford is using the health emergency to assault democracy with Bill 195, says OFL

TORONTO, July 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Ontario Federation of Labour is outraged by the anti-democratic, and unprecedented Bill 195 that has been rammed through the legislature by the Ford Conservatives. The bill declares Ontario’s state of emergency over while letting the government override the rights of Ontarians and dodge public oversight, said the OFL.

“Legislative decisions must not be made behind closed doors. The people have a right to know about and respond to government actions. Bill 195 is a blatant overreach by Doug Ford and an assault on democracy,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Patty Coates. “In these very difficult times, Ontarians need to know their government respects their role in our democratic institutions. Instead, the Ford Conservatives have revealed their disdain for the democratic processes that keep Ontario safe, while at the same time attacking workers’ job security and fair processes in the workplace by allowing employers to override collective agreements.”

All workers have the right to bargain collectively with their employer under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but Bill 195 allows employers to bypass collective agreements in the workplace; deny vacation; and contract out jobs. Ford has ejected PC MPP Belinda Karahalios from the PC caucus for voting against the Bill. Karahalios said that Bill 195 is  ‘an unnecessary overreach on our parliamentary democracy.’ 

Union leaders in Ontario are meeting today to chart their response.

“A legal challenge is certainly in the cards, and increased labour action is also clearly on the table,” said Coates. “It’s not too late for this government to backtrack on this egregious legislation, and do right by workers and the people of Ontario.”

“The Ford Conservatives call front-line workers heroes with one breath, then strip those same workers of their rights. This is a profound abuse of the trust of the people of Ontario,” said Coates. “The Conservative MPPs that voted for this bill should be ashamed of themselves.”

“This anti-democratic power grab by the Ford Conservatives will not be forgotten come the next election,” said Coates. “Again and again, Ford shows that he does not have the best interests of Ontarians at heart. Ford’s cuts have made life harder for Ontario families since his term began. Under COVID-19, the Ontario government has failed at every step, from refusing to provide much needed permanent, employer-paid, sick days to telling migrant workers they can work after a positive COVID-19 test and during outbreaks.”

Ontarians can speak up against the bill using a one-click web tool to call Conservative MPPs.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Meagan Perry 
Director of Communications 
Ontario Federation of Labour l 416-894-3456