Bill 195 – the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020
Daniel Sheppard and Steven Barrett
On July 7, 2020 the Ontario Solicitor General tabled Bill 195, the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“Bill 195”). Bill 195 permits the government to continue to maintain and modify emergency orders made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) for at least a year after the end of the declared emergency, and possibly longer. At the same time, it removes important mechanisms for democratic accountability.
In particular, the Bill authorizes the Government to maintain orders that interfere with the collective bargaining rights of unionized workers. With very limited exceptions, it also permits the government to increase the severity of restrictions on collective bargaining rights.
Daniel Sheppard and Steven Barrett review the Bill and consider whether it could be successfully challenged under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.