TTC an “Essential Service”

Responding to a request from Toronto’s City Council, Ontario has passed Bill 150 which bans strikes and lockouts by TTC employees. First reading of the bill was in February of this year and it passed yesterday, March 30, 2011, by the government of Ontario. The new act, The Toronto Transit Commission Labour Disputes Resolution Act, 2011 (the “Act”), outlines new collective bargaining rules that must be followed when the parties are unable to negotiate an agreement.

The Act provides for binding arbitration by a neutral third party. The parties are given the authority under the Act to pick the arbitrator and the method of arbitration. If the parties cannot agree on the selection of an arbitrator, then the Minister of Labour will choose the arbitrator and the method of arbitration. The Act is to be reviewed every five years.

Between 1974 and 2008, legislation to end or prevent TTC work stoppages has been enacted five times.  In proposing this new legislation, the Minister of Labour, Charles Sousa, has emphasized the vital importance that the TTC has to the economy as well as to the hundreds of thousands of people who rely on it on a daily basis.

Of course, it is doubtful that cost savings will be achieved through future collective agreements imposed by arbitrators at interest arbitration.  Commuters should probably stock up on tokens before the next round of bargaining.

Click here for a link to a Globe and Mail article on this topic:

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