May 30, 2017
(Toronto) – The OFL congratulates the Ontario government on the steps it has taken today toward updating Ontario’s outdated labour and employment laws, and on their plan to increase minimum wage across the province.
The OFL recognises the collective efforts of workers in Ontario for their strong advocacy on changes to the labour and employment laws in our province and winning a schedule for reaching a $15-minimum wage.
“The Labour movement has supported the call for a $15 minimum wage, and we’re pleased to see this important step being taken,” said OFL President Chris Buckley. “Now it is time to put legislation in place that will guarantee decent conditions in the workplace for all workers, as well as decent pay.”
The Labour movement in Ontario is advocating for wide-ranging changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act to make sure every job in Ontario is a decent job, and that it is easier for workers to join and keep a union. The OFL will be engaging with the legislative committee and MPPs over the summer to ensure that the details of the proposed legislation will yield the desired outcome: delivering stability and fairness for all workers in Ontario.
“Every Canadian has a constitutional right to access meaningful collective bargaining under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” said Buckley. “Our government must protect this right through legislation that removes obstacles for all workers who desire to exercise their rights and join a union.”
Employment and labour laws are 20 years behind the times, and this is a much-needed update. While some of these announcements go further than the Special Advisors’ recommendations, there are improvements that can still be made through legislation, said Buckley.
To make it fair, legislation should immediately include:
- 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.
- Extending access to collective bargaining for all Ontario workers by introducing broad-based bargaining models that include other sectors of the economy.
- Providing options for neutral telephone or online voting when union members need to vote.
- Extending the Labour Relations Act to cover all workers with no limitations. All workers deserve protections under the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.
- Removing all exemptions to the minimum wage.
- Mandating parity for all workers with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions – regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time workers.
- Protecting the right to concerted activity so that workers can form groups to pursue collective action.
- Extending and increasing access to just cause protection for all workers, unionized and non-unionized workers alike.
- Extending successor rights to protect employees against losing their jobs and their union when a worksite changes hands, not only to the building services but also to all other contract service industries.
- Prohibiting replacement workers to make sure the law does not undercut workers who are fighting for decent work.
- Extending Personal Emergency Leave to all workers and ensuring that it is not combined with any other leave.
- Providing ten paid job-protected days of leave for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
- Providing seven paid sick days for all workers separate from Personal Emergency Leave.
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/.
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