Letter to the candidates in the Niagara West-Glanbrook byelection

 

November 14, 2016

Dear Candidates,

The by-election for Niagara West–Glanbrook has been called at a time where a significant number of constituents in your riding are precariously employed. This means that they receive low pay and few – if any – workplace benefits, have little or no job security, face constantly changing work scheduling, and are afforded little or no protection through unions. This is their day-to-day reality.

As their future representative, you have the power to change the status quo and fight for decent work in Ontario. Please refer to the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)’s response to the 2016 Changing Workplaces Review: Special Advisors’ Interim Report (attached) for concrete recommendations on how to effectively eliminate precarious work and create a legislative framework for better working conditions in Ontario.

Although the OFL formally represents one million workers in the province, we advocate on behalf of all working people through the Make It Fair campaign, we are mobilizing labour unions across the province to fight for meaningful changes to Ontario’s labour and employment laws—in solidarity with the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign. The residents of Niagara West–Glanbrook have made it clear: they want better working conditions, more permanent full-time work with good wages and benefits, and greater access to joining and keeping a union.

In fact, in St. Catharines-Niagara and its surrounding area, approximately 50 per cent of the working population makes less than $30,000 a year. Unsurprisingly, women, Indigenous people, racialized and ethnic people, immigrants, and youth are overrepresented in precarious employment and are therefore more likely to be classified as the working poor.

Ontario is at a crossroads. The choices that the government makes today, through the Changing Workplaces Review, will not only affect the lives of millions of Ontarians, but it also has the potential to set the standard of work across Canada and across the world. As part of government or the opposition, you have a responsibility to advocate for the issues that matter to the people in your riding.

We have a once in a generation opportunity to bring in sweeping changes to Ontario’s outdated employment and labour laws. The OFL, along with your constituents, hope that you’ll join our call for making employment and labour standards fair across the province.

Sincerely,

 

CHRIS BUCKLEY                                 PATTY COATES                                  AHMAD GAIED

President                                                  Secretary-Treasurer                            Executive Vice-President

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