Bad jobs make us sick. This is why hundreds of physicians, nurses, support workers, researchers and health promoters from across Ontario are organizing for $15 & Fairness as members of the Decent Work and Health Network (DWHN).
Health providers know that decent jobs are a crucial remedy for the health of Ontarians and our health care system. They know because they see the impact of bad jobs in emergency rooms and community health centres on a daily basis. Patients who struggle to fill their prescriptions due to insufficient incomes, or get the medical attention they need in a timely manner in the absence of legislated sick days, suffer because of inadequate labour laws.
Decent Work and Health Network
The DWHN was formed in 2014 by Health Providers Against Poverty and the Fight for $15 & Fairness to bring health evidence into the public conversation taking place during the provincial government’s review of outdated labour laws. In just one year, the network grew to expand over a thousand health providers who called for at least 7 legislated paid sick days for all workers, as well as the elimination of the doctor’s note requirement.
Health Providers in Action
Since then, network members have advocated for significant labour law reforms to ensure decent work for all and improve health outcomes in Ontario. This also meant addressing the root causes of low wages, unstable schedules with no guarantee of hours, and the stress that comes from juggling multiple jobs. To this end, health providers have made presentations at government consultations, met with Members of the Provincial Parliament, ran lectures and workshops for health workers and students, organized public outreach actions, participated in mass rallies, written letters to newspapers and given dozens of interviews to media outlets.
We Organize, We Win
The persistent organizing of the Decent Work and Health Network as part of the $15 & Fairness movement led to historic victories recently. Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which got adopted in November 2017, will introduce important labour law reforms. These include: 10 personal emergency days for all, 2 of which will be paid, $15 minimum wage legislation, and provisions to ensure equal pay for equal work as well as fair schedules (learn more here). But we know that the fight is not over!
In the coming months, health providers will continue mobilizing to make sure that patients know about these new rights have the supports they need to access them. These reforms are just the beginning of the changes needed to make jobs decent and our communities healthy.