(TORONTO, ON) – The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) encourages the government to further prioritize workers in its 2017 Ontario Fall Economic Statement. Today, it was announced that the corporate income tax rates for small business owners will drop to 3.5 per cent from 4.5 per cent on January 1, 2018 – the same day that the general minimum wage will become $14 per hour before increasing to $15 per hour in 2019.
“This is not a progressive policy. A reduction in the tax rate will only serve to further entrench income inequality in this province,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Lower taxes mean the government has less money for schools, hospitals, roads and the infrastructure all Ontarians depend on,” he added.
Buckley urged the government to reconsider the focus of its economic decision: all small businesses will benefit from this policy, but not all low-wage workers will benefit from the minimum wage increase.
“Ontario is Canada’s largest labour market, and we have more people working at low wages than any other large economic engine. That’s shameful. While the government has rightly recognized the need for a $15 general minimum wage, there are exemptions. Liquor servers and students will continue to receive a lower wage. This kind of unfairness is totally unacceptable,” said Buckley.
Buckley added that many workers will be unable to access their constitutional right to join a union. It’s one of many steps that still need to be taken to set the standard for decent work in Ontario. In its most recent submission on the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, the OFL made several recommendations to improve the legislation for workers, including:
- providing better workplace information during an organizing campaign;
- removing the requirement that a certification application must mirror the initial description;
- removing the arbitrary time limit on the consolidation/combination of bargaining units;
- extending card-based certification to all sectors;
- providing paid leave for survivors of domestic and/or sexual violence;
- removing employer exemptions for the right to refuse and cancel shifts;
- strengthening equal pay for equal work;
- extending the consolidation/combination of bargaining units to franchises;
- extending successorship rights to all contracted services;
- providing an automatic right to first contract arbitration; and,
- implementing changes to the Labour Relations Act immediately.
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