March 17, 2005
The Honourable Joe Fontana
Minister of Labour and Housing
House of Commons, Parliament Hill
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union represents more than 15,000 full-time employees of the province’s Colleges of Applied Arts and Technology, including both faculty and support staff.
Through Ontario’s College Collective Bargaining Act, an additional 16,000 part-time college workers are legally barred from joining a union and from the right to collective bargaining.
As Federal Minister of Labour, we would ask you to contact the Honourable Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, and remind her that Canada is a signatory to numerous conventions through the International Labour Organization of the United Nations that protect the right
to free collective bargaining.
The 1998 International Labour Organization Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work states in part: “all Members, even if they have not ratified the Conventions in question, have an obligation arising from the very fact of membership in the Organization, to respect, to promote and to realize,
in good faith and in accordance with the Constitution, the principles concerning the fundamental rights which are the subject of those Conventions, namely: (a) freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining…”
Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada to deny this basic right to part-time college workers. Further, their counterparts at the province’s universities and school boards are under no similar restriction. Given these circumstances, there is no evidence to suggest there is any reasonable validity behind
this extraordinary legal exemption.
This unfair denial of fundamental rights is an embarrassment to both Ontario and Canada. As part of the sweeping changes recommended by former Premier Bob Rae, the province should move quickly to amend the Colleges Collective Bargaining Act and end this open discrimination of these part-time workers. We
would very much appreciate your assistance and support in securing the rights that properly belong to these workers.
cc. Chris Bentley, Minister of Labour
Mary Anne Chambers, Minister of Traing, Colleges and Universities
Paddy Musson, Chair, OPSEU CAAT Academic Division Executive
Janice Hagan, Chair, OPSEU CAAT Support Division Executive
Part Time Workers Index