OFL tells OPP: End police intimidation tactics in municipal workers’ strike | The Ontario Federation of Labour

OFL tells OPP: End police intimidation tactics in municipal workers’ strike

The following letter was sent by the Ontario Federation of Labour to the Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police on March 27, 2024:

Thomas Carrique
Ontario Provincial Police
777 Memorial Avenue
Orillia, ON L3V 7V3

Email: commissioner@opp.ca

Dear Commissioner Carrique, 

In the last few weeks, we have learned of deeply troubling allegations about the conduct of members of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) with respect to a lawful strike of municipal workers in the Township of Black River-Matheson.

These workers, who are represented by CUPE 1490, are exercising their legal right to strike, which is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The right to strike protects the tactic of picketing and union members’ ability to participate in lawful picket lines at their places of work.

In contravention of those rights, the Township of Black River-Matheson issued a trespass notice on February 15, 2024 that attempts to ban the 14 bargaining unit members of CUPE 1490 from three municipal properties. Even more alarmingly, the notice claims it applies to all “members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees” and “employees from the Canadian Union of Public Employees”–regardless of their role in this particular strike.

Despite what some members of the Council might believe, the Township is not exempt from provincial or federal labour legislation or from the Charter. Indeed, it is obliged to respect and enforce those laws and rights.

Similarly, members of the OPP in the region should be doing the same, not intervening in a lawful labour dispute to enact illegal and unconstitutional measures by the Township. It is therefore outrageous that the OPP have laid criminal charges against members of CUPE 1490, who have not broken the law by engaging in legal strike activity.

In addition, we are alarmed to learn of allegations about other intimidation tactics employed by the OPP, including the harassment of CUPE 1490 members (and their supporters) while picketing, and the refusal to respond to acts of violence towards picketers, including vehicles that have charged at and violently crossed picket lines.

These acts put the lives of workers and community members at risk, and threaten the safety and security of the entire community. They also erode the public’s confidence in the ability of the OPP to do its work within the limits of the law.

On behalf of our entire federation, we fully endorse the response by CUPE’s national leadership to challenge in the Superior Court of Justice the unlawful actions of the Township, and echo its call to you, in your capacity as Commissioner, to account for the alleged behaviour of your officers in enabling and enforcing such acts.

We are urging you to address these concerns immediately and accordingly instruct your officers to respect the rights of workers to free and fair collective bargaining, including the use of lawful pickets in Black River-Matheson.

We look forward to your prompt response to this matter.




Executive Vice-President


Mark Hancock
National President, Canadian Union of Public Employees

Candace Rennick
National Secretary-Treasurer, Canadian Union of Public Employees

Fred Hahn
President, CUPE Ontario

Yolanda McClean
Secretary-Treasurer, CUPE Ontario