The provincial parliament adjourned after a short session where legislators agreed to meet over the weekend to debate a motion to enforce back-to-work legislation in the Ontario college strike dispute. 

From 1 to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday, the Legislative Assembly of Ontario will debate over the act to resolve the dispute between colleges and the faculty union.

The Liberal Party criticized the New Democratic Party for their lack of support for the motion that would’ve brought an end to the college collective bargaining dispute by Monday if all parties could support it unanimously.

The Progressive Conservatives had a representative from its caucus in attendance stating that her party was in favour of the motion.

After Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn read the act, immigration minister Laura Albanese attempted to get unanimous support from parliament to pass the motion immediately but, as planned, the NDP did not agree.

NDP leader Andrea Horwath said over the parliament session that the delay from her party was due to her job to review the legislation, but expected legislation would be passed Sunday students would be back in classes Monday or Tuesday.

Horwath made clear the NDP will not support “anti-worker legislation” that “stamps on workers rights” but admits the ruling Liberals have a majority and so it will pass.

The College Student Alliance called the parliamentary session “incredibly unfortunate for students.”

The CSA tweeted that the New Democrats had reached out to the student organization directly to indicate they would be willing to debate the legislation this weekend.

Initially, the student organization said the NDP would debate it Friday but corrected themselves afterwards.

Member of Provincial Parliament Peggy Sattler tweeted the CSA thanking them for the correction and said she wanted students back in class by Monday.

Sattler, NDP critic for education, told the Post at the Queen’s Park CSA rally earlier this month that she supported both the faculty union members and student concerns.

Colleges have started putting out statements warning students that class could be in session by Monday or Tuesday. The University of Guelph-Humber has not commented at this time.

Humber College tweeted that it expects classes to start early next week.

The strike kicked off a over a month ago on Oct 16 after the colleges and the union representing faculty, librarians and counselors could not reach an agreement before a planned deadline.

The College Employer Council requested a forced vote from the Ontario Labour Relations Board, but faculty voted against going over the negotiating team to reject the colleges’ offer.

The employer negotiating team and the Ontario Public Sector Employees Union came to bargaining table once again on Friday but could not agree to any binding deal.

If passed, legislation from Queen’s Park would force striking faculty back to work likely with only some of the demands they originally started picketing for in October.

More details to follow. Image 1 of the Legislative Assembly during Friday’s session. 

Written by Eli Ridder

Eli Ridder is a freelance journalist. He founded The Avro Post in October 2017. He writes for Breaking911 and Guelph Politico, among others. Feel free to connect at ELIRIDDER@ICLOUD.COM or at ELIRIDDER.CA

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