Government for the People Taking Immediate Action to Protect Electricity Supply in NipissingDecember 17, 2018
NORTH BAY – Ontario’s Government for the People is introducing legislation that will prevent large scale power outages in Nipissing and across Ontario by quickly addressing the collective bargaining deadlock between Ontario Power Generation (OPG) and the Power Workers’ Union (PWU).
“People across Ontario need and deserve a reliable power supply, especially over the winter months,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. “Right now, that’s at risk.
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, trades people and nuclear operators.