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December 12, 2018

It’s been a busy year that took Ontario workers from the implementation of Bill 148 which brought improvements in workplace and labour laws and a $14 minimum wage, to a hard-fought election campaign and a new PC government that passed Bill 47, repealing the many gains labour and community had won and cancelling the scheduled increase to a $15 minimum wage on January 1, 2019. Ford is continuing to cut, with reductions in social assistance rates, cuts to education programs and curriculum, and more. 

The OFL and its partners have campaigned strongly throughout 2018, and will continue the fight in 2019. Solidarity has never been more important. Make sure you stay connected and stay involved, by signing up for the OFL weekly email.

Here are some key actions from 2018:

JANUARY:

After new decent work laws and the $14 minimum wage came into effect, news broke that some Tim Hortons owners were cutting paid breaks for employees, forcing employees to purchase uniforms, or stealing tips from workers. The OFL issued a warning to bully employers.

Metron Construction Project Manager Vadim Kazenelson lost his appeal in the Metron conviction. OFL President Chris Buckley commended the appeal decision for making it clear that when employers kill a worker, they’ll go to jail.

The OFL participated in the Women’s March on January 20.

The OFL launched workplace posters outlining the changes to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act workers won in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

FEBRUARY:

Labour and community activists mobilized across Ontario to show support for Tim Hortons workers, decent work laws, and the Jan 1, 2019 increase to a $15 minimum wage in a Day of Action in support of Tim Hortons workers.  On February 13, activists delivered Valentines to workers at 200 Tim Hortons locations, which contained a message of support and a poster on workplace rights.

The OFL rallied in support Bill 33, which would provide a minimum of 4-hours care for long-term care residents. The legislature prorogued before the bill could pass, but the campaign continues.

Black History Month event, Celebrating Our Past, Creating Our Future featuring keynote speaker Robyn Maynard, spoken word performance by Shady Aidid, and discussion “Let’s Talk Black Futures” featuring Brittany Andrew-Amofah, Robin Maynard, Waleed Khogali, moderated by Mojdeh Cox. Emcees Megan Whitfield and Elizabeth Ha. This event was sponsored by Prevention Link, and put on by CBTU Canada, CLC, and OFL.

MARCH:

The OFL March 8 Project had its biggest year yet! It raised a record amount of money through the sale of International Women’s Day posters. The funds were  distributed to the following programs:  Equal Pay Coalition’s Equal Pay Day Campaign, CBTU Summer Youth Program: OFL sponsored 5 girls to attend, OCBCC—Child Care Worker and Early Childhood Educator Appreciation Day, and the Northern Indigenous Foodbank. Look for information on the 2019 March 8 project here.

OFL Secretary-Treasurer Patty Coates attended the 62nd session for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and the CLC event sharing the #donewaiting campaign for equality for women in Canada.

APRIL:

Leading up to the provincial election, the OFL held town halls across the province to discuss new workplace rights, and provide resources for advocating for workplace rights.

On the 2018 Day of Mourning, the OFL joined the Canadian Labour Congress in its campaign against violence and harassment in the workplace. The labour movement is united under the banner of Violence and harassment: it’s not part of the job. To sign on click here.

MAY:

The OFL supported the NDP in the Ontario election with a robust campaign called “Change that works.” The OFL contacted hundreds of thousands of Ontarians, providing campaign tools, canvassing, and reaching out online. When the votes were counted on June 7, the NDP became the official opposition for the first time in a generation, in PC majority government with Doug Ford as Premier.

Ontario Labour mobilized for a Day of Action for CUPE 3903 at York demanding that York University bargain fairly with its employees. The York Strike was the longest post-secondary strike in Canadian History. Doug Ford ignored charter rights by using back-to-work legislation to end this important labour action.

JUNE:

Following the June 7 election of a PC majority government, the OFL vowed to protect labour rights. On June 16 OFL and community partners, the Fight for $15 and Fairness rallied at the Ministry of Labour and Queen’s Park in defense of decent work laws and $15 minimum wage.

As Doug Ford’s PC government was sworn in, the OFL warned that the labour movement was ready to come together and defend workers’ rights and public services.

On National Indigenous Peoples Day the OFL launched resource sheets on incorporating Indigenous, Inuit and Métis perspectives into planning and programming, and installed a permanent land acknowledgement.

OFL took an active role in Pride Summer 2018. From June to September the OFL attended nine different pride events in support of LGBTQI inclusion, some in cities holding their first Pride celebrations, including Chatham-Kent and Brampton. Labour played a key role across the province as organizers, supporters, and marchers, celebrating diversity and inclusion.

An OFL session on Pay Equity examined pay equity enforcement strategies at Review Services and the Tribunal.

JULY:

When the head of Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate and Minister of Community Safety and Corrections Michael Tibollo made a comment about needing a “bulletproof vest” to tour Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighborhood, the OFL questioned his ability to head Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate.

The OFL joined with the CLC in calling for a national Pharmacare plan.

The Solidarity and Pride Award was presented to Mayson Fulk at a reception in London, Ontario. The Solidarity and Pride Award honours a labour activist or group whose work for inclusion made a significant or ongoing contribution to the advancement of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and two-spirit (LGBTQI*) human rights, equity and inclusion.

AUGUST:

The Ontario Federation of Labour mourned the passing of unionist, community organizer and activist Bromley Lloyd Armstrong. A member of the CAW, Armstrong was a leader in the Toronto Joint Committee on Human Rights in the 1950’s and fought racism his whole life. The Toronto and York Region Labour Council held a memorial for Armstrong.

OFL launched myrights.ca, a website to inform Ontarians of their workplace rights and to provide materials for the fightback, beginning a ground and online campaign asking Ontarians to phone or email PC MPPs in support of decent work laws and $15 minimum wage.

The OFL awarded the OFL/AIL in Canada scholarship to two students entering their first year of post-secondary studies. Congratulations to Joshua Jobe and Amanda Zanette.

SEPTEMBER:

Leaders of the $15 and Fairness movement, including the Fight for $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour held a press conference to call on the Ontario government to keep decent work laws and the $15 minimum wage.

The OFL slammed the government’s decision to cut employer WSIB premiums by 30 per cent, saying the policy provided a benefit to employers on the backs of injured workers.

On September 28, the OFL Aboriginal Circle hosted the Honouring Reconciliation: Labour’s Role Round Table.

OCTOBER:

A coordinated Day of Action in Ontario for decent work laws brought labour and community activists together at more than 50 events across Ontario, as well as a rally at the Ministry of Labour. Ontarians spoke about how decent work laws helped them in a series of videos.

NOVEMBER:

Ford’s government introduced Bill 47, which repealed almost all the rights workers won in Bill 148. In response, the OFL campaigned hard flyering in PC ridings, and running phone banks where thousands of Ontarians responded to the OFL’s call by calling their MPPs to defend decent work laws. As Ontarians learned of the rights the government was taking from them Ford’s popularity took a tumble.

On Trans* Day of Remembrance, the OFL launched a series of info sheets on being an ally with Trans* and Two-Spirit folks.

OFL signed on to an open letter calling for January 29, the anniversary of the murder of 6 worshippers at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, be declared a National Day of Remembrance and Action against Hate and Intolerance.

In November, when GM announced that the company would be closing its plant in Oshawa, workers walked off the job. The OFL spoke out for workers, then sent an open letter to the Premier.

DECEMBER:

The OFL called out Doug Ford’s Bill 66 as the government proposed regulatory changes that would compromise the health and safety of Ontarians.

For International Human Rights Day, the OFL launched an info sheet on how to intervene when you see harassment or discrimination.

When the PC’s tabled back-to-work legislation to preempt job action by the Power Workers’ Union, the OFL spoke out against the trampling of workers’ rights.

Prepare for 2019

The fight for workers’ rights is more important than ever. Sign up for the OFL weekly email to find out how you can get involved in enhancing workers’ rights in Ontario.

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