Priorities

For the first time in a generation, the Government of Ontario has commissioned a historic independent review of Ontario’s employment and labour laws.

Right now, unionized and non-unionized workers have an incredible opportunity to tackle the growth of insecure work and to make decent work the standard right across the province.

To join the campaign click here.

Click below to find out more about the changes needed to make sure all Ontarians have decent work.

Make it easier to join and keep a union: 

Remove barriers that stop employees from unionizing

Broad-based bargaining models could provide meaningful change for a large number of employees, who currently have limited access to collective bargaining because of their small workplaces and types of employment. Broad-based bargaining would extend stronger standards and protections right across the sector. Vulnerable workers in precarious jobs — particularly those in restaurants (notably fast-food), hotels, retail, homecare, and other service industries are most affected.

Protect the ‘freedom of association’ right for employees

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all Canadians the fundamental freedom to associate for the pursuit of collective workplace goals. The Labour Relations Act makes it difficult for workers to exercise their right to join and keep a union. The law should reintroduce card-check certification; allow for neutral, online, or telephone voting; legislate early disclosure of workplace information; streamline the remedial certification process; and reinstate workers before the first agreement.

Provide an arbitration option for new collective agreements

Workers should have access to binding first contract arbitration in order to reach a first collective agreement. Guidance in the challenging first agreement process would ensure that new unions are able to reach agreements with employers.

Protect workers in the case of contract flipping

Workers’ rights (e.g., employment status, pay, and benefits) should be maintained when contracts are retendered or contracts are flipped, particularly given that it is vulnerable workers in the services sector who are most at risk of losing all collective agreement protections.

Protect the right to strike

Workers who are involved in a legal strike or lockout should be free to exercise their constitutional right to strike without the fear of being replaced, losing their jobs, or the threat of not being reinstated afterwards. To protect the rights of striking workers, legislation banning the use of replacement workers should be introduced, and reinstatement during or after the labour dispute should be hassle-free.

Remove all exemptions and loopholes

All workers should be protected by the minimum standards outlined in the Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act — regardless of occupation or sector.

 

Raise the bar for all workers: 

Hold employers directly accountable to their employees

Employers should not be able to skirt the law and avoid their responsibilities for the people they employ. To increase the protection under the law for all workers, the definitions of employer and employee should be expanded and liabilities and the true employer should be clarified.

Provide equal pay, benefits, and working conditions for equal work

Full-time and part-time as well as permanent and temporary workers doing the same work should receive the same pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Enforce the law

There are far too many Ontario workers who are denied their basic rights in the workplace, because their employers do not follow the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. Ontario needs stronger enforcement to protect workers’ rights.

Extend just cause protection

All workers in Ontario should be protected against unfair treatment. Not everyone has the financial resources to take their employer to court if they have been treated unfairly in the workplace.

Protect the right of working people to collectively act

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees all Canadians the fundamental freedom to associate for the pursuit of collective workplace goals. This includes the right to organize, the right to join a union, the right to engage in meaningful collective bargaining, and the right to strike. Ontario laws should protect employees against employer retaliation.

Offer paid sick days and adequate vacation

All workers should have a minimum of seven paid sick days a year without requiring medical notes. Being able to take time off when sick speeds up recovery, deters further illness, and reduces overall health care costs. All workers should also be entitled to a minimum of three weeks of vacation per year. Ontario and the Yukon Territory are the only jurisdictions in the whole country providing only two weeks paid vacation – all other Canadian jurisdictions provide three weeks. Ontario should be brought up to the national standard.

Provide adequate notice for schedules

All employers should post work schedules two weeks in advance, and establish a minimum of three-hour shifts because “just-in-time” scheduling leads to underemployment, unnecessary stress and strain on families as well as lowered incomes.

Protect survivors of domestic and sexual violence

Workers dealing with domestic and sexual violence should have ten days of job-protected paid leave, with the right to extended unpaid leave as needed. This provides survivors with some of the time, energy, and resources they need to focus on healing and rebuilding their lives.