Repeal of legislation will end 16-year attack on delivery of health care and community services in B.C.
The B.C. government has committed to work collaboratively with stakeholders to implement the repeal of these bills. The BCGEU/NUPGE and HSABC/NUPGE look forward to engaging in this process to support, and significantly improve conditions for workers affected by these changes.
“It’s part of their strategy: say the sky is falling to justify a hidden agenda of deep public sector cuts and privatization. Well Minister, we aren’t going to sit by and wait for the fallout. We’re ready to fight.” —Warren (Smokey) Thomas, OPSEU President
“I am especially pleased to see plans to develop mental health recovery programs and supports for workers and people from affected communities, a wide-ranging emphasis on partnership and coordination with First Nations and Indigenous groups, as well as improvements to Emergency Social Services”—BCGEU President Stephanie Smith
(TORONTO, ON) – This winter, our government is pushing workers out into the cold by cancelling workplace rights and the $15 minimum wage with Bill 47, but that’s not the only shameful way this government is treating workers.
An internal memo from the Ministry of Labour signalled the intention to put a freeze on proactive inspections that would make sure employers are meeting the minimum standards set out in employment law. Until now, inspectors have performed random inspections of workplaces to ensure that workers’ rights are being respected. They check to make sure employers are providing things like paid sick days, vacation, schedules that meet regulatory standards, and workers are being paid properly.
By stopping these inspections, our government is essentially handing employers a free pass to break the law. Pausing proactive workplace inspections that ensure compliance with Ontario’s employment standards further disadvantage vulnerable workers in Ontario. It also makes it easier for employers to take advantage of their workers, creating an uneven playing field to the benefit of unscrupulous operators.
This freeze comes on the heels of the introduction of Bill 47, a bill that robs workers of many of their basic workplace rights and protections. From equal pay for part-time, full-time and temp workers to paid sick days, and $15 minimum wage, Bill 47 strips away the laws that protect workers in this province.
Bill 47, combined with a reduction in inspections means that workers will be less likely to report when an employer breaks that law, for fear of reprisals. Temp workers, who are often newcomers to the province who may not be aware of their workplace rights, are left particularly vulnerable by these changes.
Companies like Fiera Foods take advantage of these precariously employed workers by offering the least that they can to these workers. Fiera Foods is infamous for using temp agencies to staff their factories where workers toil for low wages in unsafe conditions to produce a range of food products in locations around Ontario. These workers are unlikely to feel confident in making a complaint when they don’t receive proper safety training, equal pay, or vacation time.
This fall there was another death at Fiera Foods. It was the fourth death in nineteen years. Fiera Foods is not the only company taking advantage of Ontarians, but it is a good example of a company that might protect its workers better if it were subject to more inspections.
Workers should not be made responsible for keeping tabs on their employer. Our government should be enforcing a set of decent work laws, not the substandard version set out in Bill 47.
Bill 47 will also cancel the increase to a $15 minimum wage that is scheduled for January 1, 2019. This is a real-dollar loss for workers that takes almost $2,000 dollars out of their pockets, and out of the economy. Under Bill 47, there won’t be a $15 minimum wage in Ontario until 2024 at the earliest, when every penny of that $15 minimum wage will be worth less than it was worth today.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce wants these basic rights cut. They say the economy will suffer, but there is no sign their dire predictions are true, in fact, just the opposite. Since this time last year, Ontario added 83,000 jobs. The unemployment rate has dropped. Fewer people are using the Daily Bread Food Bank, a shift that the Food Bank attributes, in part, to a higher minimum wage.
Doug Ford, look at the facts. Look at the improvements in Ontario’s economy with the minimum wage increase and the net benefits with fairer workplace laws in place.
Withdraw Bill 47. Do not, as you have said you will, replace decent work laws with laws that lower standards at the expense of workers lives and livelihoods.
Do not pause employment standards inspections.
Use your power in the legislature to make sure families in Ontario can survive and thrive.
Keep your promise to govern ‘for the people’, not for the special interests of the big business lobby and multi-national corporations.
Chris Buckley is the President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.
For further information, please contact:
Director of Communications,
Ontario Federation of Labour
firstname.lastname@example.org l 416-894-3456
Visit our webpage at: http://opseugtac.com
The 7th annual Workers’ Bowl fundraiser wrapped up successfully this past Saturday. Many friends and allies, old and new, came out committed to raising money for programs to support workers in precarious employment. Thank you for raising money that will be used in our leadership education and training programs, as well as internships at the Workers’ Action Centre. If you didn’t get the chance, the Workers’ Bowl is still open for donations until Friday, November 16. (Tax receipts are available for donations of $10 or more.) You can also help us get the word out to your networks about our awesome decent work leaders like Linda.
Since Linda graduated from our leadership program, she has become a strong defender of workers’ rights. As a former daycare worker, she has experienced precarious work, including low wages, safety concerns, lack of benefits, and no paid sick days. When children came in with contagious illnesses because their parents couldn’t stay home with them, Linda got sick, too. That meant paying out of her own pocket for medicine while having to stay home without pay. Eventually, she was injured at work, and did not receive compensation from her employer. Not long after, Linda attended a workers’ rights workshop and was inspired to join the Workers’ Action Centre that same day!
Linda is motivated to stand up for the rights of all workers and she is sparking change across Scarborough. Leading outreach to workers every week, Linda has an incredible ability to organize workers in her community! She also facilitates workers’ rights workshops and informs local government representatives about the issues facing workers. As Linda passes on her knowledge about our rights at work, more workers gain the confidence to stand up and speak out.
We are honoured that Linda and many other grassroots organizers continue the hard work that keeps the decent work movement going strong. It is the support from friends and allies like you that lifts up our leaders through community and leadership programs. Please donate today and also share Linda’s story with your networks. Thank you for standing up for decent work!
See more at: Workers Action Centre website
Visit our webpage at: http://opseugtac.com
Legalizing recreational cannabis was supposed to end organized crime’s control over the cannabis industry. But without a public registry of beneficial owners and publicly operated stores, we have no way of knowing what’s happening.