Ford government to recall legislature next week to introduce back-to-work bill for power workers


Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government will recall the legislature next week in order to enact back-to-work legislation to keep power workers on the job and prevent widespread outages, a government official has told CBC Toronto.

Earlier Thursday, an official had said that the government was prepared to recall the legislature. By the afternoon, it was confirmed that MPPs will return from Christmas break in response to potential job action.

On Thursday, members of the Power Workers’ Union (PWU) rejected the final contract offer from Ontario Power Generation (OPG). That put workers in a legal strike position.

The previous collective agreement expired on March 31.

“OPG is disappointed that its fair and reasonable offer was not ratified by PWU members,” the agency said Thursday in a statement.

“The offer provided PWU members with reasonable working conditions and benefits while recognizing the fiscal realities of the company and the province of Ontario.”

The agency has “very detailed contingency plans in place and is activating them immediately,” the statement went on.

The union said that the main bargaining committee would meet Friday to “initiate a notice to begin a 21-day ‘safe shut down’ period in preparation for shutting down power production.

“PWU members will continue to fulfil their responsibilities in compliance with all safety guidelines in preparation for job action.”

PWU represents over 16,000 workers in Ontario’s energy sector, including about 6,000 OPG employees.

Province ‘reviewing all options’

On Thursday, the ministers in charge of the file said that the OPG produces about half of Ontario’s electricity, and a prolonged outage “would jeopardize electricity supply to Ontario’s industry and businesses, which could have a devastating impact and ripple effect on our province’s economy.”

In the statement, Greg Rickford, minister of energy, northern development and mines, and Laurie Scott, labour minister, said the government would do “whatever is required” to ensure power stays on.


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