The Ontario New Democrats have once again blocked the government from tabling legislation that would end a five-week long faculty strike and send over half a million students back to the classroom. The NDP voted against the bill Friday afternoon, effectively blocking it for the second time in two days.
Premier Kathleen Wynne attempted to table the back-to-work legislation Thursday evening as well, with the hope of returning students to the classroom on Monday. However, that move was also blocked, with Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath adding that her party “will not support any legislation that takes away the rights of any workers in this province.”
While PC Leader Patrick Brown said it is “unacceptable” that it has taken this long for the province to intervene, his party supports Wynne’s back-to-work legislation.
Around 12,000 faculty members at Ontario’s 24 public colleges have been on the picket lines since October 16, making the strike the longest in the province’s history.
The Liberals have stated that they are prepared to return to the legislature and sit throughout the weekend until the legislation is passed. The party will be in the house at 1pm on Saturday to debate the bill.
The bill would refer all outstanding issues to binding mediation-arbitration, Wynne said in a statement.
The province moved to impose legislation after unionized faculty voted 86% against accepting the College Employer Council’s latest offer earlier this week. The council had asked the Ontario Labour Relations Board after talks broke down last week, however, the Ontario Public Service Employees Union urged faculty to vote “no.”