May 30, 2017

Historic breakthrough for $15 & Fairness

Today’s announcement by the Ontario government is a package of reforms coming out of the Changing Workplaces Review and our Fight for $15 and Fairness. If enacted, the changes represent a huge victory for workers across Ontario! Although we didn’t get everything we wanted, we have won major improvements in most areas of our campaign.

Here are some highlights, for a more detailed review of the proposed changes click here.

  • A $15 general minimum wage within 18 months
  • Equal pay for part-time, casual, temporary and contract workers, including temporary agency workers
  • Fairer scheduling
  • An extra week’s paid vacation (after 5 years of service)
  • 10 emergency leave days for all workers, two (2) of which will be paid and no doctor’s note will be required for any worker taking emergency leave
  • Protection for contract service workers against contract flipping in the building services sector and publicly-funded institutions (like colleges and universities)
  • A modest – but important – extension in card-based certification for union organizing
  • Other measures to make it easier for workers to join unions
  • An increase in public staffing resources for enforcement

Organizing works: Together were winning!

That the government has moved on so many of our demands is a testament to the hard work, tenacity and ongoing organizing efforts of all of you: workers, students, trade unionists, community groups, faith and other community allies.Congratulations and thank you to everyone who signed a petition, mobilized, demonstrated, knocked on doors, canvassed, emailed the Premier, tweeted, put up posters, handed out flyers, met with their MPP, called  coworkers, friends and families and so much more.

It is critical that we stay organized in the weeks ahead. There is no room for complacency.

Buckle up for the business backlash

The business lobby is already using their vast resources to peddle their narrative that any changes in support of workers will ruin the economy. The evidence shows this kind of fear mongering is false – click here to see the facts. But we will need to work hard to get the message out that higher wages and better working conditions will improve our workplaces, our communities and our lives, including the lives of our families.

What you can do:
Immediately write letters-to-the-editor in response to the news articles that are published over the next few days
– Call your MPP to let them know what you support and what needs improvements (see our analysis of the proposed changes by clicking here)
– Talk to your co-workers, friends and family to make sure they have the arguments they need to counter the big business lobby

The gains we have made are historic improvements in Ontario’s labour standards regime. That we have further to go should come as no surprise. But we should all be incredibly proud of the work we have done – and energized for the struggles to come.