(Toronto, ON) – Today, labour leaders from across the province gathered to discuss next steps in advance of the government’s anticipated reaction to the Changing Workplaces Review, reaffirming their commitment to Ontario workers.
From rallying at Queen’s Park by the thousands to meeting with MPPs to talk about their needs in the workplace, Ontario’s workers have made their points of view clear to the government: outdated employment and labour laws need to be changed to reflect the needs of workers in today’s job market, and all workers need protections under the law.
Some OFL priorities are reflected in the Changing Workplaces Review final recommendations. However, the labour movement is calling for the government to do all it can to ensure that all workers are well protected by new employment and labour laws, and that the constitutional right to freedom of association is respected through legislation that protects workers’ Charter right to access meaningful collective bargaining through unionisation.
“Working people have told the government what they need to see from the Changing Workplaces Review” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “This review can improve the lives of all the workers in this province whether they’re in a union or not. All the priorities listed by the labour movement must be implemented without delay.”
The OFL and its affiliates have been advocating for wide-ranging reforms to labour and employment law, as well as a $15 minimum wage.
“At the start of the Changing Workplaces Review process, the labour movement came to a consensus on changes that are essential for workers in this province,” said Buckley. “Changes haven’t been made yet and there is still time to create fair legislation. We are calling on the government to fully implement the priorities set out on behalf of Ontario workers by the labour movement. Half-measures will not solve the problems Ontario workers face in today’s labour market.”
To make it fair, the government can improve on the recommendations by:
- Guaranteeing the Charter right of all Ontarians to bargain collectively with their employer by implementing card-based certification in every sector and for all workplaces to reduce barriers for employees who want to organize.
- Providing automatic access to first-contract arbitration.
- Prohibiting replacement workers to make sure the law does not undercut workers who are fighting for decent work.
- Extending access to collective bargaining for all Ontario workers by introducing broad-based bargaining models beyond franchises to also include other sectors of the economy.
- Extending and increasing access to just cause protection for all workers, unionized and non-unionized workers alike.
- Providing seven paid sick days for all workers separate from Personal Emergency Leave.
- Providing ten designated paid job-protected days for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
- Legislating three weeks paid vacation for all Ontario workers upon employment.
- As well as moving forward with legislation on the issues identified in the changing workplaces review, the government must set a $15 minimum wage immediately across the province.
The OFL’s www.MakeItFair.ca campaign takes on issues of inequality in the workforce, and coincides with the province’s “Changing Workplaces Review.” The campaign gives voice to unions’ demands for across-the-board changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act that would improve standards for every worker and make it easier for them to join a union.
The Fight for $15 & Fairness is a campaign supported by community, labour, student and faith groups across Ontario, calling for sweeping reform to employment and labour laws. Central in the campaign is the demand for a $15 minimum wage for all workers, regardless of age, student status, job or area of work. For more information, visit 15andfairness.org or follow @fairwagesnow.
For information on the Fight for $15 and Fairness demands, please visit: http://15andfairness.org/demands/.
For further information contact:
Meagan Perry, Director of Communications, Ontario Federation of Labour