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Ontario hospital workers awarded more pay after Bill 124 found unconstitutional

Toronto–Ontario hospital workers, not including registered nurses, are set to get an additional 3.75% and 2.5% in wage increases over two years.

That arbitration decision comes after a law known as Bill 124 that capped wage increases to 1% a year for three years for broader public sector workers was declared unconstitutional by an Ontario court.

The government has appealed that ruling, but in the meantime, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the SEIU Healthcare union are the latest in a series of broader public sector unions to have successfully argued in arbitration for more money.

Arbitrator William Kaplan says in a decision that the best comparators for wage increases that would have been freely collectively bargained during the 2022 and 2023 time period are the 4.75% and 3.5%, respectively, that both Ontario power workers and federal public service employees achieved.

Kaplan also awarded an additional $2 to the predominant hourly rate for registered practical nurses and increases to shift and weekend premiums as well as some benefits.

Ontario's Financial Accountability Office in a recent report estimated that similar arbitration rulings in the wake of Bill 124 being found unconstitutional have already cost the province nearly $1 billion in extra health-sector spending.

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