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Ontario PC labour reforms violate core democratic principles

Joshua Mandryk

June 10, 2013

In this op-ed published by the Toronto Star, Josh Mandryk and University of Toronto Law School professor Brian Langille explain how the so-called “Defending Employees’ Rights Act” goes far beyond American style right-to-work legislation and attacks the democratic principles of majoritarianism and exclusivity that lie at the heart of our modern system of labour relations.

The Defending Employees’ Rights Act (Collective Bargaining and Financial Disclosure by Trade Unions), 2012 is a private member’s bill tabled by Conservative MPP Randy Hillier. Among other things, as the article explains, it would:

… repeal Section 45(1) of the Ontario Labour Relations Act which makes the union the exclusive bargaining agent for all employees in the bargaining unit. They would replace it with a new Section 45(1) that would make the union the exclusive bargaining agent for bargaining unit employees who are members of the union, but not for those who are not. Employees who choose not to be members of the union would then be left to bargain individually with their employer while the union would still bargain collectively for member employees. Thus, their proposal would not simply allow bargaining unit employees covered by a collective agreement to opt-out of paying dues, as with American-style right-to-work, but would allow bargaining unit employees to opt out of collective bargaining and the collective agreement entirely. These are two radically different proposals.


Joshua Mandryk

Practice Areas

Labour Law