A third-party arbitrator has awarded Ontario elementary and high school teachers additional retroactive pay related to Bill 124, which capped their salary increases at one per cent for three years.
The news was announced in a joint release issued late Friday afternoon.
Teachers have already been awarded an additional 0.75 per cent annually for the first two years the bill was in effect. The third year’s remedy was referred to an arbitrator.
The arbitrator, who acts as a third-party decision-maker in negotiations, awarded members of the Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation (OSSTF) and the Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario (ETFO) with a 2.75 per cent increase for 2021-2022.
In total, with the one per cent increase members already received, this equals a 7.25 per cent increase over the three years.
“This decision reinforces what we have known all along; our members have been underpaid and undervalued for years while the Progressive Conservatives underfunded public education and shortchanged Ontario’s students,” OSSTF President Karen Littlewood said in a statement.
The news comes just days before Ontario’s Appeal Court will release a ruling on whether Bill 124 was constitutional.
In late 2022, the Ontario Superior Court found the legislation had infringed on the collective bargaining rights of unions.
The government appealed the case in June and that appeal will be decided on Monday.
“This arbitration award is a clear acknowledgement of the egregious, unlawful suppression of wages that deliberately undermined our members’ rights and livelihoods,” ETFO President Karen Brown said. “The (Doug) Ford government’s unconstitutional attack on public sector workers must never be repeated.”
Multiple unions have already received remedies in relation to Bill 124, including teachers, nurses and civil servants.
The government has 60 days to provide school boards with funds to cover OSSTF and ETFO’s Bill 124 remedy, and boards must issue payments to eligible members no later than 120 days.