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October 23, 2018

(TORONTO, ON) – Today’s announcement by the government of Ontario repealing the majority of Bill 148 steals basic rights from Ontario workers. Ford’s plan cuts wages, makes it easier to fire workers in precarious work, eliminates paid sick days, makes it more difficult to join and keep a union, and cancels fairer scheduling laws.

This announcement means a real-dollar wage cut for minimum wage employees, the elimination of two paid sick days, fairer scheduling and equal pay rules that would have ensured workers are paid the same for doing the same work.

“We have always known that Doug Ford is no friend to workers, and with today’s announcement he has proven himself to be an enemy. The laws that were updated in Bill 148 provide basic workplace rights, rights that made life easier for Ontario families. Now, the government of this province is making it more difficult to get by,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Big corporations will get all the benefit of these changes, not Ontarians. Not the people who are struggling to make ends meet on two or three or four jobs. Today’s announcement only continues Doug Ford’s path of destruction in Ontario. He has cut funding for health care, cancelled plans for new hospitals, and cut rates of social assistance. Now he’s coming after working Ontarians, giving employers laws that support taking advantage of workers. It’s disgusting.”

“Today, Doug Ford is sending a message to the people of Ontario. Far from bringing in a new era of decency for working people, the Ford regime is making it absolutely clear that its primary interest will be lining the pockets of corporate elites,” said Coordinator of the Workers’ Action Center Pam Frache. “Today’s message is clear: help is NOT on its way for the millions of Ontarians who need paid sick days, fair scheduling, equal pay and especially a $15 minimum wage.”

“Millions of workers voted for Ford because they believed him when he said he would stand up for the little guy,” said Frache. “Today, Ford has betrayed the voters of Ontario and they will not soon forget.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour, the Workers’ Action Centre and all the community and labour partners across Ontario who comprise the Fight for $15 and Fairness, call on the government to reverse this shameful action, which comes on the heels of the October 15 Day of Action in defense of decent work laws and the $15 minimum wage. Thousands of Ontarians at more than 50 events across the province delivered the message that they want the Ontario government to keep decent work laws and the January 1 increase to a $15 minimum wage in actions across the province.

“Doug Ford is not governing for the people, he’s governing for big corporations. The government has just told 1.7 million workers that they are about to lose the nearly $2,000 annually they would have gained from a $15 minimum wage. Perhaps the most meanspirited is the fact that the government has said they will freeze the minimum wage for two years. This is a real-dollar wage cut, that will make life harder for millions,” said Frache. “What’s more, removing equal pay for equal work provisions will increase the gender pay gap in this province where women make 30 per cent less than men on average. That gap is increased for women workers, Workers of Colour, Indigenous workers, and workers with a disability. This is a slap in the face for millions of workers in this province.”

“This fight isn’t over,” said Buckley. “Workers across this province came together on the 15 of October to say hands off decent work laws. You can be sure that the labour movement and community are going to be sending a very clear message to this government that’s it’s time to listen to the people instead of caving in to big corporations,” said Buckley.

Negative predictions from right-wing think-tanks like the Fraser Institute about the higher minimum wage have proven false. Ontario’s job numbers have been outperforming the rest of the country. According to the August Labour Force Survey by Statistics Canada, Ontario’s average weekly hours of work increased from 36.3% in August 2017 to 36.5% in August 2018 – better than the national average. In fact, total hours worked in Ontario rose by 3.3 per cent from January to August, after Bill 148 came into effect.

The Fight for $15 and Fairness is a growing movement of workers committed to fighting for decent work, and includes students, faculty, labour groups, health providers, anti-poverty activists and faith leaders. To learn more, visit: www.15andFairness.org.

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

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To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:

Nil Sendil

Communications Coordinator,

Fight for $15 & Fairness

info@15andfairness.org l 647-710-5795

Meagan Perry

Director of Communications,

Ontario Federation of Labour

mperry@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456

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