TORONTO — A source with the Ontario government said Friday the Progressive Conservatives are prepared to recall the legislature to table back-to-work legislation to end a potential strike by power workers that could lead to outages.
Energy Minister Greg Rickford is considering all options, including bringing politicians back during the legislature's Christmas break, to end a potential labour disruption, the source told The Canadian Press.
On Thursday, members of Ontario's Power Worker's union rejected a contract offer from Ontario Power Generation, putting them in a legal strike position as of Dec. 26.
The union, which has been without a deal since March 31, said in a statement that OPG's final offer remained unchanged from a previous position and was rejected.
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It said the union's bargaining committee would be meeting Friday to initiate a notice to begin a 21-day "safe shutdown" period in preparation for shutting down power production. The union said its members will continue to fulfil their responsibilities in compliance with all safety guidelines as they prepare for the job action.
"We are disappointed that OPG provided a final offer that remained unchanged from the previous offer that had already been rejected. We need to reach an agreement that will strengthen the reliability of Ontario's energy sector," said Mel Hyatt, the union's president.
The union represents over 16,000 workers in Ontario's energy sector, including about 6,000 OPG employees.
Ontario Power Generation expressed disappointment that its offer was rejected and said it is activating contingency plans in the event of a labour disruption.
"OPG is committed to ensuring the safety of Ontarians is protected at all times," the company said.
Rickford and Labour Minister Laurie Scott said in a statement that they urge both parties to reach a resolution before the dispute leads to power interruptions.
"Any prolonged outage caused by a job action would jeopardize electricity supply to Ontario's industry and businesses, which could have a devastating impact and ripple effect on our province's economy," the ministers said.
"We will not allow Ontario families and seniors to spend their holiday season in the dark or to go without heat. We will do whatever is required to protect the health and safety of the people of Ontario."
With files from Paola Loriggio
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