The Ontario government passed back-to-work legislation today, sending 12,000 striking college faculty back to work on Monday, November 20, and approximately 500,000 students to classes on Tuesday, November 21.
Bill 178, the Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology Labour Dispute Resolution Act, passed by a vote of 39 in favour and 18 against. All Liberal and Progressive Conservative MPPs in attendance voted in favour of the bill while all NDP MPPs voted against.
During debate on the bill, Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, argued that the back-to-work legislation was a “last resort.” Matthews and Premier Kathleen Wynne met with representatives from the College Employer Council and the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who told them that the two sides were “at an impasse” and unable to move forward with negotiations.
Members of the NDP have been against the back to work legislation since it was introduced by Wynne on Thursday, November 16. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has described the legislation as “anti-worker.”
The passing of Bill 178 means that 1000 students in joint UTM-Sheridan programs and 170 in UTSC-Centennial programs are slated to go back to school on Tuesday.