The Ontario government plans to introduce legislation this spring that would let part-time college teachers join a union for the first time in the province’s history, says MPP John Milloy, Ontario’s minister of training, colleges and universities.
But a union bid to hold a quick certification vote this week among the 12,500 workers has been turned down by the Ontario Labour Relations Board. In a quest for job security, benefits and better pay, 7,000 of the part-time teachers and support staff across 24 community colleges signed cards in the past six months saying they wish to join the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union (OPSEU), despite a 40-year-old law that bans them from joining a union.
Ontario is the only province that prohibits part-time college workers from joining a union, and the Supreme Court of Canada ruled last summer that right is guaranteed by the constitution. While the board turned down that request, Milloy said it is just a matter of months before Ontario gives part-time college workers the legislative green light to join a union.
“We’re looking at introducing legislation sometime this spring,” said Milloy.