FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2016
Interim “Changing Workplaces Review” Report should be a Springboard for Employment Reforms
(TORONTO, ON) ─ The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) welcomes the release of the Interim Report from the Government of Ontario’s Changing Workplaces Review. The report lays out the parameters for action to improve and modernize Ontario’s outdated employment laws.
The report summarizes the many challenges facing employees in Ontario’s labour market, including barriers to achieving collective bargaining rights and the unprecedented growth of non-standard, precarious work. It includes recommendations by Ontario’s labour movement and community advocates during the public consultation on changing the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA).
“Workers and their families need greater stability – in job status and working conditions, scheduling, hours worked, and pay, as well as the meaningful ability to join a union and exercise their rights to collective bargaining,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “We are encouraged to see these solutions reflected in the options laid out in the Interim Report.”
Buckley applauded the efforts of the Ontario government in its leadership in tackling precarious work and developing a framework for creating decent jobs. He also congratulated the special advisors C. Michael Mitchell and the Honourable John C. Murray on the carefully-crafted and impressive summary of current labour market conditions and their implications for Ontarians.
Since the mid-1990s, the majority of new jobs creation in Ontario has been concentrated in low-wage sectors with erratic scheduling practices, few benefits and constricted access to effective collective bargaining.
“This review has unearthed a complex and troubling picture of employment here in Ontario,” said Buckley. “It is incumbent upon the government to take action following the final recommendations, later this year, to stop the growth of precarious work.”
The OFL and affiliated unions proposed a series practical, achievable and positive improvements to the ESA and OLRA to the Changing Workplaces Review. Those improvements would eliminate current barriers to workers who want to choose union membership, prevent employer intimidation and harassment of those workers, help secure collective agreements and resolve disputes, and maintain union protection when service providers are flipped. Additionally, these recommendations will ensure equal pay, benefits and conditions for all workers regardless of their part-time, temporary or full-time status, paid sick days and vacation days in keeping with international standards, and proactive enforcement of employment standards.
“This Interim Report is a springboard for a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring in sweeping changes to employment laws to Make It Fair for everyone. It has been 20 years since Ontario’s labour laws were reviewed. The need for our province to overhaul its outdated employment laws cannot be overstated,” said Buckley.
As the Changing Workplace Review progresses towards its final report to the government, the OFL and affiliated unions will continue to take action through campaigns like the “Fight for $15 and Fairness” and the “Make It Fair” campaign (a partner campaign to the Fight for $15), mobilizing labour unions and members to advocate for stronger employment laws.
“Fairness means creating an economy that values the work of everyone, lifts every worker up, enforces employment laws, ensures that every job is a decent job and enshrines the Charter right of every worker to collectively bargain,” said Buckley.
Read Labour Law Reform, the OFL’s comprehensive submission to the Changing Workplaces Review.
The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter. To learn more about the OFL’s Make It Fair campaign, visit www.makeitfair.ca.
For further information:
Meagan Perry, OFL Communications Director: 416-894-3456 or MPerry@ofl.ca