Working Families et. al v. Ontario, 2021 ONSC 4076
Feb 18, 2022
Susan Ursel, Kristen Allen, Emily Home, and Natasha Abraham represented OSSTF in this challenge to Bill 254, the ironically-entitled Protecting Ontario Elections Act, 2021. Bill 254 imposed sweeping and unprecedented restrictions on third-party political advertising for an entire year before the election. The restrictions applied to trade unions, interest groups, and citizens. OSSTF and other labour groups argued the provisions were aimed at suppressing the political speech of unions in the lead-up to the election. Morgan J. of the Superior Court of Justice found Bill 254 violated the s. 2(b) freedom of speech in a manner that could not be justified under s. 1 of the Charter.
Two days after Morgan J.'s judgement was released, the Government of Ontario re-enacted the provisions by using the notwithstanding clause, which has never before been used in Ontario's history. OSSTF filed a new application that challenged the new legislation, Bill 307, under s. 3 right to vote. The appeal relating to that application is pending at the Ontario Court of Appeal.