Government taking action to protect power supply: MPP Clark
The following was submitted by the office of MPP Steve Clark:
The Ontario Government is introducing legislation to prevent large scale power outages across Ontario by quickly addressing the collective bargaining deadlock between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Power Workers’ Union (PWU).
“Ontario’s families and businesses need and deserve to know that their power supply is reliable, especially during the winter months,” said Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark. “Right now, that’s at risk and I’m proud our government has called MPPs back for an emergency session of the Legislature this week.”
Clark said a work stoppage at OPG would significantly impact Ontario’s electricity supply. The Independent Electricity System Operator concluded that Ontario would not have the electricity needed to meet consumer demand resulting in brownouts and blackouts across the province.
“We want to see a fair deal reached between the parties,” said Laurie Scott, Minister of Labour. “Our proposed legislation will remove the risk of widespread power outages and allow dispute resolution to happen appropriately.”
The collective agreement between OPG and PWU expired on March 31, 2018.
A tentative agreement was rejected by a majority of employees represented by the PWU on August 9, 2018. Following further negotiations, the agreement was put to a second ratification vote, which was also rejected.
The parties are in a deadlock and PWU gave strike notice on December 14, 2018.
“We are taking swift and decisive action to keep the lights on for Ontario families, seniors and businesses,” said Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines. “We will not allow families and seniors to dwell in the dark or go without heat this winter and we will do whatever is required to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario.”
The proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 would prohibit and stop any strikes or lockouts between OPG and PWU for the current round of bargaining and send all matters in dispute to a mediator-arbitrator for a fair dispute resolution process.
- OPG produces approximately 50 per cent of Ontario’s electricity needs and operates nuclear, hydroelectric, thermal and one wind generating facility.
- OPG employs a total of approximately 11,100 staff, including 9,933 unionized workers. PWU represents approximately 6,000 employees who work at all of OPG’s generating facilities, including technicians, tradespeople and nuclear operators.
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