Labour groups welcome interim report on precarious workers in Ontario

Unifor-precarious-work-OFL-Ontario-labour-law-protection-benefits-wages-EDIWeekly

Ontario’s labour movement is applauding the government’s release of an interim report on revising the province’s labour laws. Unifor national president Jerry Dias called it a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to transform Ontario labour law. He said the report tackles issues that millions of Ontario workers face in the workplace, and includes solutions that if implemented would be “a historic step” toward ending the “race to the bottom.” The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) also welcomed the release, saying that it is encouraged to see solutions to various labour problems laid out in the report. The report has revealed a “complex and troubling picture” of employment in Ontario, commented OFL president Chris Buckley, referring to the fact that most new jobs created in Ontario since the mid-1990s have been in low-paying sectors with erratic scheduling and few benefits. He urged the government to take action to stop the growth of precarious work.

The Ministry of Labour released the Changing Workplace Review Interim Report today, following public consultations held last year. The review represents the first comprehensive review of Ontario’s Labour Relations Act, 1995, and Employment Standards Act, 2000. It identifies approximately fifty issues, the government says, and over 225 options for dealing with them. Among the issues are the use of precarious work, low pay for part-time jobs, and contract-to-contract positions that offer no benefits or job security. Erratic scheduling, income inequality and lack of work-life balance are also addressed in the interim report. Unifor’s regional director for Ontario, Katha Forier, commented that it was now “crucial” for solutions to be implemented, as the status quo “is simply not an option for employees.”

The scope of our Review is very broad and, while we intend to deal with a variety of matters, in keeping with our mandate, our key focus will be on vulnerable workers in precarious jobs and the need for legislative amendments to address some of the issues facing these workers. At the same time, we will be mindful of the interests of employers and the potential impact of any proposed change and will carefully consider changes being sought by employers that could impact employees.

The expert panel of advisors that released the report found a serious problem in the enforcement of labour standards in Ontario. It found that “too many people in too many workplaces” are not receiving their basic rights. The minister, Kevin Flynn, meanwhile, says there is a danger that vulnerable young workers and new Canadians could be taken advantage of by some “bad guys” who do not pay them adequately, or give them vacations and benefits that they are due. This is especially likely to happen in retail, hospitality and construction jobs. just 14 per cent of private sector workers are currently members of labour unions in Ontario.

Rather than continuing its practice of inspecting big corporations that have labour-law compliance experts on staff to ensure that workers are treated well, Flynn would like to see more inspections of employers who “seem to think that they can operate outside the law” without consequences.

Ontarians are now invited to provide feedback on the interim report until October 14, 2016.

Did you miss this?

Other Popular Stories

  • If Keystone XL dies, will Energy East replace it?
  • With a 500 km range and 408 horsepower, Volvo's new Polestar EV may rival Tesla
  • US moves to cut coal-fired emissions highlight rift with Canada
  • Touchless computer control from Waterloo tech company an early success
  • Canada exports more than logs and oil
  • Researchers find way to turn wood into supercapacitors
  • Fuel cell market will double in five years: report
  • Scientists create liquid fuel from solar energy
  • Toronto Hydro reports on sustainability, social responsibility
  • Membraneless flow battery shows great promise for cheaper energy storage
  • Women wanted in construction trades as "tremendous opportunity" exists
  • Renault's autonomous float hover car by Yunchen Chai may be the automobile of the future — winner of a design competition from Renault
  • Wood-based battery the next energy storage solution?
  • Securing new investment greatest achievement of Unifor's agreement with Ford
  • Global Response to Autonomous Vehicles
  • 21 auto parts companies in Ontario invest in new technologies with help from Ontario Government
  • National Energy Board not doing enough to ensure pipeline safety: report
  • Financial risks associated with emissions limits for Canada for oil and gas industries
  • Latest Update on KRACK (Key Reinstallation Attack): the flaw in WPA2 protocal for WIFI systems
  • Daimler Records Big Profits and 2018 Plans
Scroll to Top