Nil Sendil

  • published The occupation is over, but the fight continues in Media 2019-10-17 18:43:58 -0400

    The occupation is over, but the fight continues

    8 people were arrested and removed from Premier Doug Ford's office last night. They had the courage to put their bodies on the line to prevent more temp agency workers from getting killed.

    Ford had 8 people arrested
    Click to share on Facebook - Click to share on Twitter

    What did Ford do?

    Instead of signing existing legislation into effect to stop companies from hiring temp agency workers for the most dangerous jobs, he sent in armed officers to arrest peaceful demonstrators. This is the Premier of Ontario.

    Ford promised to govern for the people, but clearly he won't even lift a finger to prevent further workplace deaths. About our occupation, Ford's press secretary said "the actions demonstrated today are never justified." If five temp agency worker deaths -- two under his watch -- are not sufficient justification for action, what is? 

    We thank the occupiers for courageously taking action, to pressure Premier Ford to sign Section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act into effect. We also thank the hundreds of people who came out to support the occupation at such short notice -- and the thousands who posted on social media to keep #OccupyFord trending the whole day.

    If you haven't, please send an email to the Premier to voice your outrage (click here), and ask your friends to do the same. Better yet, call him right now: at 416-325-1941.

    And, if you can spare a dollar, please make a contribution to the cost of the occupation by making a donation here. Thank you for your ongoing support!

    Check out the occupation coverage here:
    CP24
    Toronto Star
    insauga.com
    Global News
    CTV

     


  • published BREAKING: We're occupying Ford's office in Media 2019-10-16 14:47:12 -0400

    BREAKING: We're occupying Ford's office

    As of 3 pm today we’ve begun an indefinite occupation of Premier Doug Ford’s office at 823 Albion Road in Etobicoke (Google map directions). If you’re able to, please come as soon as possible!

    Join the occupation, spread the word
    Click to share on Facebook

    Enrico Miranda, the 57 year-old father of two, was killed on September 25 at Fiera Foods. Miranda was the 5th temporary agency worker to die on the job at Fiera, and the 2nd since Premier Ford took office.

    Since then, thousands of you emailed Ford, demanding action. We issued an open letter, calling on him to sign section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to make sure companies like Fiera are held financially responsible under WSIB for the deaths and injuries of temp agency workers. There has been no response from the Premier.

    We can’t sit around and wait for another death to happen. Because Ford’s Conservatives have refused to take action, now we have no other choice but to do this occupation. 

    #OccupyFord
    Get the latest updates on our action on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    Community and labour allies have begun this occupation to demand Ford sign section 83(4). But to keep this momentum going, your presence is crucial.

    If you are in Toronto, come as soon as possible.

    We will hold a gathering at 5 pm, and a movie screening at 9 pm. If you can, come prepared to stay into the night with us. ROUTE by TTC:  The closest bus stop is a 2-minute walk from the office, Albion Rd At Calstock Dr. You can reach it by taking bus 73C from the Royal York subway station.

    For our $15 & Fairness supporters across Ontario, you have an equally crucial role to play.

    The premier needs to know that our communities are watching him, and he must do the right thing!

    • Call Premier Ford NOW: 416-325-1941
    • Use the hashtag #OccupyFord to spread the word. We’ll be making regular updates on social media, so stay connected and get ready to amplify us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
    • Email the Premier now (click here), and if you have already emailed him, get your friends to do it.

    The legislation to stop companies from treating temp agency workers’ lives as disposable already exists. We just need Ford to sign it into effect! Help us make him do it.

    If you are in a position to make a donation to sustain this occupation, please make a contribution by clicking here. Every cent helps. Thank you!


  • published BREAKING: Premier Ford’s office occupied in Media 2019-10-16 14:42:04 -0400

    BREAKING: Premier Ford’s office occupied

    TORONTO, Oct. 16, 2019 – Community and labour leaders began an indefinite occupation of Premier Doug Ford’s constituency office at 823 Albion Road in Etobicoke today, demanding his signature on Section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA) to prevent further workplace deaths in Ontario. To ensure that companies using temp agency workers are held financially responsible for workplace deaths and injuries under WSIB, regulations were drafted in 2018, but still await the Premier’s signature to be implemented.   

    Today’s occupation comes following the death of Enrico Miranda, the 57 year-old father of two, who was killed on September 25 at Fiera Foods. Miranda was the 5th temporary agency worker to die on the job at Fiera Foods, and the 2nd since Premier Doug Ford took office.

    WHAT: A media briefing with community and labour leaders
    WHEN: Wednesday, October 16 at 5:00 pm (the occupation has begun, and will continue indefinitely)
    WHERE: Doug Ford’s constituency office at 823 Albion Road in Etobicoke
    VISUALS: Signs bearing the names of the five temp agency workers who were killed at Fiera Foods, flowers, candles, an oversized poster of Section 83(4) for Premier Doug Ford to sign, community and labour leaders who will share stories of how this issue impacts them. 

    “Premier Doug Ford has left us with no other choice, but to start this occupation today,” said Chris Buckley, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. “Had Ford implemented Section 83(4) of WSIA, companies like Fiera Foods would be held fully financially responsible for the injuries to temp agency workers. This tragic death could have been prevented. It is time for companies like Fiera Foods to be held accountable.”

    In Ontario, temp agency workers are twice as likely to get hurt on the job, compared to directly hired employees. This is due to an ongoing loophole that shields companies from the cost of injuries suffered by the temp agency workers they hire.

    “Legislation already exists to stop companies from treating temp agency workers’ lives as disposable,” says Deena Ladd, Executive Director of the Workers’ Action Centre. “All Premier Ford needs to do is to add his signature so it can be enacted. This is a matter of life and death.”

    Last week, the Ontario Federation of Labour, Workers’ Action Centre, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty and Fight for $15 & Fairness issued an open letter to Premier Doug Ford demanding he immediately enact of Section 83 (4) of WSIA. To date, there has been no response.

    Ford’s refusal to take action to prevent further workplace deaths in Ontario has provoked this indefinite occupation of his office today, with the support of Unifor, CUPE Ontario, Elementary Teachers of Toronto, Ontario Network of Injured Workers, and the Toronto York Region Labour Council, among other community and labour groups.

    For latest action updates, look for #OccupyFord on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    -30
    For more information or to arrange interviews:
    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator, Fight for $15 & Fairness
    info@15andfairness.org l 647-710-5795              

    Meagan Perry
    Director of Communications, Ontario Federation of Labour
    mperry@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456

     


  • published Open letter to Premier Ford in Media 2019-10-08 12:41:14 -0400

    Open letter to Premier Ford

    RE: Urgent action required after fifth temp worker death at Fiera Foods 

    Dear Premier Doug Ford,

    As you know, on Wednesday, September 25, Enrico Miranda, a father of two, was killed on the job. As you also know, Mr. Miranda is the fifth temporary agency worker who has died on the job at Fiera Foods or an affiliated company.

    Shockingly, it has been almost two weeks since his death and yet we have heard nothing from you. You have chosen to remain silent, despite having the power to implement legislation that could have prevented this tragedy.

    Mr. Ford, this is the second worker killed at Fiera Foods under your watch. 

    Had you implemented Section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act - legislation which has already passed, but simply needs your signature - Mr. Miranda might still be alive today.

    That’s why we are writing to you to demand that you immediately enact this existing law that will make companies using temp agencies financially responsible under the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act for workplace deaths and injuries.

    Laws like this will make companies like Fiera Foods think twice before putting temp workers into harm’s way.  

    There’s no more time to waste, and we need you to take action to make sure this is the last temp agency worker death.

    Implement Section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act - right now!

    We expect to hear from you right away, and certainly no later than Friday, October 11.

    Ontarians deserve to know whether their premier will stand up for workers – or whether he will remain silent and continue allowing companies to treat their workers’ lives as disposable.
     

    Signatories:
    Butterfly GoPaul, Resident Member, Jane Finch Action Against Poverty

    Deena Ladd, Executive Director, Workers’ Action Centre

    Chris Buckley, President, Ontario Federation of Labour

    Pam Frache, Provincial Coordinator, Fight for $15 and Fairness

    Logos of JFAAP, WAC, OFL and $15 & FAirness


  • published Take action: Not one more death in Media 2019-10-03 18:17:50 -0400

    Take action: Not one more death

    First we want to thank everyone who joined us at the rally outside Fiera Foods yesterday, where a 5th temp agency worker died on the job September 25.

    Click here to sign the petition:
    We're demanding urgent action from the Ford government

    With less than 48-hours notice, over a 100 people gathered to demand justice for workers at Fiera Foods, including community advocates, union members, and local residents.

    To pay our respect to Enrico Miranda, the 57 year-old father of two who was the 5th victim of Fiera Foods, we started the rally with a minute of silence. We also collected over a $1,000 to help the family with funeral costs. Please donate here if you can; it's the fund set up by Enrico's friends.

    When Enrico was killed last week, Fiera forced workers to finish their shifts instead of shutting down the factory. But when they learned of our rally to support workers, Fiera chose to cancel two shifts to prevent workers from seeing so much community support and learning more about their rights.

    This move is even more despicable because these workers were not paid for these last-minute shift cancellations. This cruel act is only possible because the Ford government rolled back the laws that would have protected workers against such last-minute shift cancellations.

    The government must act now to ensure the safety and well-being of workers at Fiera. Sign the petition now, click here. Help us pressure Premier Ford to close the loophole that allows companies to treat temp agency workers' lives as disposable. There is no time to lose.

    We're demanding stronger legal protections for temp agency workers and a criminal investigation into Fiera Foods.

    Citynews clip on the Rally for Workers at Fiera
    Click here to watch the CityNews coverage
    Click here to see photos from the rally

    Thank you for your ongoing support! Please stay tuned for details on upcoming actions against Fiera.


  • published We don't want to die in Media 2019-09-30 13:00:58 -0400

    We don't want to die

    Last week a 5th temp agency worker was killed at Fiera Foods, a food processing plant in Toronto. We’re filled with heartbreak and rage, because we know this death could have been prevented.

    Tell the Ford government to take immediate action:
    Click here to sign the petition

    Fiera hires 70% of its workforce through temporary staffing agencies in order to keep costs low. How? Because in Ontario, the cost of injuries to temp workers are applied to the temp agencies, NOT to the companies that hire them. For bad bosses like Fiera, the lives of temp agency workers are cheap. We need to: Make. This. End. Now. 

    Raise your voice to demand the Ford Government act immediately to close this loophole and bring in workplace protections to ensure our safety on the job -- click here to add your name. The legislation to close this loophole already exists, but Ford’s Conservatives need to enact it. 

    When Premier Ford rolled back the workplace protections we won previously, he gave bad bosses the green light to abuse our rights with impunity. There was no excuse for lowering fines for employers who break the law or allowing companies to pay temp agency workers less than their directly hired co-workers. Ford must reverse course now!

    Click to sign up for the rally -- Click to share on Facebook

    To send a clear message to the government, and put Fiera Foods on notice, we’re calling for a protest this Wednesday. Together with local community groups and labour unions, we will hold a public rally outside the factory where the 57 year-old father of two died. Please join us on Wednesday, October 2nd, at 3:00 PM at 50 Marmora Street to say workers at Fiera Foods are not alone. Click here to sign up for the rally!

    Can’t join us at the rally? Please take a moment right now to sign the petition to the Conservative government (click here). We are demanding that they: 

    1. Enact immediately the legislation (Section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act) that make companies that use temp workers responsible for the cost of workplace injuries and death. Only then will companies begin to protect workers health and safety. 

    2. Make it illegal for companies to rely on temp agency workers for the bulk of their workforce, by:
      - Ensuring temp agency workers become directly-hired workers of the client company after three (3) months of assignment;
      - Providing just cause protection for a temp agency worker if, at the end of the assignment, another temp worker is hired to do the work previously done by the terminated temp worker;
      - Placing a 20% cap on the number of temp agency workers used by a company at any given time;
      - Ending all penalties or fees when a client company directly hires workers

    3. Restore the legal protections cancelled by the Ford government, including the right to equal pay for equal work for part-time, contract, and temp agency workers; paid sick days; fairer scheduling rules; $15 minimum wage; and more.

    Finally, we must also demand that Fiera Foods be investigated for criminal negligence causing death under Canada’s Criminal Code. This is the 5th death at Fiera. It is a crime.


  • published Cuts kill workers in Actions 2019-09-30 11:17:13 -0400

  • Climate Justice = Economic Justice = Racial Justice

    Friday is an historic day as millions around the world take to the streets to demand urgent and meaningful action to address climate change and environmental degradation. Inspired in part by 16 year old Greta Thunberg who launched #FridaysForFuture, young people around the world are calling for urgent action to stop climate disaster. September 20 is only the first day of a whole week of actions culminating on Friday, September 27 with mass actions in Ontario, Quebec, and elsewhere across CanadaClimate Strike FF15

    To find an action in your community, visit the Climate Strike Canada website here. To find an action in Toronto, click here

    To RSVP for any upcoming $15 and Fairness events in your community, visit our Facebook events page here.

    We know we can only stop the climate crisis by transforming the economy and empowering workers to be part of the solution. That means migrant workers must have permanent resident status; existing low-paid workers in low-carbon jobs need higher wages, fairness, and respect; and better paid workers in high-carbon jobs need a fair transition to low-carbon jobs. 

    Let's make sure no worker is left behind as we transition to a just and sustainable future. 

    To do this, we need to stand strong against racism and xenophobia so that the global 99% can really unite to fight for the kind of world we need, want, and deserve. Afterall, there will be no climate justice without racial, social, and economic justice. 

    • To download posters and placards for this week's Climate actions, click here.
    • To download the $15 & Fairness Climate petition, click here
    • To download leaflets promoting the September 27 Climate Rally at Queen's Park in Toronto, click here

    Wherever you are across Ontario, find an action or join us on social media to help make decent work and fairness for ALL central to our vision for climate justice. 

    If you use one or two of these hashtags it will be easier for everyone to amplify your posts: #ClimateStrike #UniteAgainstRacism #15andFairness #FridaysforFuture 

    Don't forget to RSVP for -- and share -- any of our upcoming $15 and Fairness events in your community: click here to visit our Facebook events page.

    See you in the streets!


  • published Leaflet: Climate Strike (Toronto) in Resources 2019-09-19 12:59:40 -0400

  • published This election, join us to call out falsehoods in Media 2019-09-18 18:37:21 -0400

    This election, join us to call out falsehoods

    Yesterday, well known anti-immigrant leader Maxime Bernier got an invitation to the Federal Leaders’ debate. Soon his racist views will be televised across the country. 

    Take the #UniteAgainstRacism pledge by clicking here.

    Right now, it's up to all of us to call out falsehoods during the federal election and reject the politics of division. We can't allow any politician to distract us from the real problems of low-wages and inadequate public services by blaming immigrants or using racist rhetoric. 

    For the next 5 weeks, our friends at the Migrant Rights Network will be sending out Election Reality Check updates to keep us informed. Sign up for these updates by clicking here so you can cut through the lies and empty promises circulated by politicians.

    To give you a sneak peak of the Election Reality Checks, we are sharing below the one from this morning. If you see a fact you wish your friends and family members also knew, make sure to share it on social media using the hashtag #UniteAgainstRacism, and to stay in the loop sign up for future Election Reality Checks here.

     

    Election Reality Checks by MigrantRights.ca

    1. Refugees aren’t responsible for cuts to services or low-wages, the super rich are – Many people are feeling like they don’t have enough to take care of their families, or save for retirement. We are being convinced that there is not enough for everyone. In this climate, arguments that blame refugees for taking services are gaining traction. This is why we must remind our friends and family members that while refugees take very little the super rich in Canada have stashed $353 Billion in offshore tax havens, and nearly 27% of corporate taxes are unpaid. 

    Fact 1) Blame the super-rich


    2. Canada doesn’t take its fair share of refugees: 
    Of the over 70 million people globally forced out of their homes, Canada will let in less than 50,000 in 2019. That’s 0.07% of displaced people, despite Canada making up 1.36% of total global wealth (GDP). In Lebanon on the other hand, which has the world’s third highest debt,  1 in 4 people are refugees. 

    Fact 3) Canada doesn't take its fair share


    3. Canadian corporations profit from displacement: 
    People are forced to move because of war, “development projects”, persecution and climate change. Canada ranks as one of the top 15 exporters of deadly weapons, hosts many of the worst mining companies and is home to the world’s worst industrial polluting projects – the oil sands. No conversation about refugees is possible without accounting Canadian complicity in displacement

    Fact 3) Corporations profit from displacement

    Want to read on?
     Click here to visit the MigrantRights.Ca website to see the full version of this morning's Election Reality Check with all 9 facts.

  • published Placard: Climate Strike in Resources 2019-09-18 18:19:44 -0400

  • published Équité Collèges in Movement 2019-09-02 17:10:54 -0400

  • published College Faculty in Movement 2019-09-02 17:07:30 -0400

    Cliquez ici pour le français

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  • published On Labour Day: Let's UNITE to WIN in Media 2019-09-01 10:22:59 -0400

    On Labour Day: Let's UNITE to WIN

    The Labour Day weekend is upon us and we're excited to be bringing our Unite Against Racism message to thousands of workers across Ontario! To find a Labour Day event near you, click here and scroll down.

    As workers across the province -- and indeed Canada -- we are united in our desire for an immediate $15 minimum wage; for decent work for all; for well-funded, universal public services; and justice for everyone. In fact, recent polling has shown that nearly 70% of Canadians, a strong majority, want the rich and the corporations to pay their fair share of taxes in order to fund anti-poverty programs*.

    Without a doubt, the wealthy corporations are threatened by this kind of unity because they don't want to part with their mega-profits. So the 1% and the politicians who represent them, fuel racist and anti-immigrant rhetoric to divide us and make us fight each other for scraps.

    But we won't let them get away with it. Even the disgusting billboards promoting Maxime Bernier's xenophobic Peoples' Party that attempted to scapegoat newcomers, were taken down in less than a week thanks to the public outrage**. That should build our confidence to take on bigotry wherever and whenever it appears.

    To help us organize, we are proud to share some beautiful materials produced by the Migrant Rights Network. 

    Unite against racism posters and leaflets
    To download the posters, click here
    To download the leaflet, click here

    Please print these posters and display them in your neighbourhood, campus or workplace. And if you're planning to join your local Labour Day event, bring them with.

    There is also a pledge sheet to invite every person to promise to unite against racism, click here to download the pledge sheet. By asking people to leave us their contact information, we can stay organized in the days ahead -- please send completed sheets to info@migrantworkersalliance.org

    We hope you have a great weekend and happy Labour Day! We'd love to see how you mark the day. Please share your pictures by tagging us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. And use the hashtags: #UniteAgainstRacism #LabourDay2019 #15andFairness.

    * To see the polling results by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, click here
    ** To see the news coverage of the xenophobic billboards that were taken down, click here



  • published Leaflet: Unite Against Racism in Resources 2019-09-01 10:12:02 -0400

  • published Poster: Unite Againts Racism (11x17) in Resources 2019-09-01 10:12:42 -0400

  • published New rights are coming in: in Media 2019-08-23 17:55:08 -0400

    New rights are coming in:

    Thanks to you taking action, nearly 1 million workers in Canada are about to get access to new rights on September 1st. 3 paid sick days (as part of 5-days personal leave), stronger scheduling rights and protections against contract flipping will be coming into effect in two weeks time for federally regulated workers, followed by the right to equal pay for equal work (starting 2020). 

    Show your support for decent work reforms: 
    Order your (free!) lawn or window sign today -- Click here

    These new rights will make a real difference in the lives of federally regulated workers who are in sectors that cross provincial borders (such as banking, telecommunications, trucking, aviation, and more). And we should all be very proud for putting these $15 & Fairness demands at the top of the agenda, first in Ontario and now across Canada.

    As you know, we succeeded in making Ontario the very first province in Canada to legislate paid sick days for ALL workers, back in 2018. Although Ford's Conservative government took this basic right (and many other protections) away from millions of workers, our victory is now translating to a new national decent work standard. But, we can't take this for granted.

    With the federal election scheduled for October, we must send an urgent message to politicians of all stripes that these reforms CANNOT be touched. When candidates come knocking on our doors for votes, it's crucial that we ask them how they will protect and extend $15 & Fairness reforms. To help make your support visible, we have "Proud to support $15 & Fairness" lawn and window signs! Order a free sign now: click here! We have a limited supply of lawn signs, so make sure to put in an order quickly to get yours before they're gone.

    Please join us in decorating our neighbourhoods with these signs to protect the incoming decent work reforms, and continue putting pressure to win $15 & Fairness for every worker in Canada. And scroll below, to find an event near you and meet other decent work supporters:

    Wednesday, August 21st
    ETOBICOKE, Worker's Rights Workshop
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM | LAMP Community Health Center
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    Thursday, August 22nd
    TORONTO, Outreach at Christie Pits
    5:30 PM - 7:00 PM | Christie Pits 
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    SCARBOROUGH, Meet and Greet Social
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM | ACCES Employment
    Click here to RSVP

    Friday, August 23rd
    TORONTO, Outreach in Fairbank
    7:30 PM - 9:00 PM | Shortt Street and Eglinton Ave West
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    Saturday, August 24th
    SCARBOROUGH, TamilFest Outreach
    2:00 PM - 8:00 PM | #21 - 3001 Markham Road
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    HAMILTON, Workers' Rights for People with Disabilities
    6:00 PM - 8:00 PM | 818 King Steet East
    Click here to RSVP via Facebook

    Sunday, August 25th
    TORONTO, Decent Work Picnic at Viewmount Park
    3:00 PM - 5:00 PM | Viewmount Park
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    Tuesday, August 27th
    TORONTO, Toronto Wide Organizing Meeting
    6:00 PM - 8:30 PM | 720 Spadina Ave Unit 223
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    Monday, September 2nd
    TORONTO, $15 & Fairness at Labour Day
    9:30 AM - 12:30 PM | Trinity Bellwoods Park
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook

    Sunday, September 8th
    BRAMPTON, Brampton Decent Work Picnic
    1:00 PM - 4:00 PM | Chinguacousy Park
    Click here to RSVP

    Saturday, September 14th
    NORTH BAY, Know your Rights Workshop
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM | 222 McIntyre St W
    Click here to RSVP or share on Facebook


  • Rank and File: A year of Ontario’s Bill 148: Not what the big business lobby predicted

    By David Bush

    A full year of big changes to labour law in Ontario has just passed. Newly released jobs numbers let us measure the impact of these changes, and gauge whether the nightmarish predictions of job losses and economic upheaval have come true.

    Bill 148’s changes

    Last January, Bill 148 ushered in a sweeping set of labour law reforms in the province. The legislation increased the minimum wage from $11.60 to $14 an hour, a 21% jump. This was the first phase of a two-phase increase to $15 an hour, which would have come into effect on January 1, 2019.

    The legislation also gave every worker in the province access to ten job-protected Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) days, allowing an additional 1.6 million workers to use these days for emergencies such as sickness, family illness or bereavement. It mandated that the first two PEL days be paid while also barring employers from requiring a doctor’s’ note.

    Ontario became the first Canadian province where all workers had access to paid sick days.

    In April, Bill 148 implemented an equal-pay-for-equal-work provision, mandating that part-time, contract, casual, seasonal and temporary workers who do substantially the same work as their full-time coworkers be paid the same.

    The legislation also brought in a number of rule changes that improved workers’ holiday pay and vacations, and made it easier to join and keep a union.

    Big business predictions 

    In the lead up to Bill 148 being passed, many in the big business community were warning that the changes it contained would lead to economic disaster and major job losses.

    A study done in 2017 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis (commissioned by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce) claimed that 185,000 jobs would be lost over two years. A 2017 TD Bank study predicted that Bill 148 would result in 80,000 to 90,000 jobs lost. Even Ontario’s Financial Accountability Office predicted 50,000 jobs would be lost due to Bill 148.

    In January 2018, Ontario lost 54,000 jobs and it seemed that the critics of Bill 148 were right. The media quickly picked up on this narrative in January and again in August, when Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey showed that Ontario lost 80,000 jobs. But StatsCan’s monthly survey is merely a snapshot of the economy, which is apt to fluctuate dramatically from month to month. Looking at the change in jobs numbers from year to year is a much clearer way to measure the impacts of labour law reforms.

    Bill 148’s impact

    So after 12 months of Bill 148, what happened to Ontario’s job market?

    The province added roughly 78,000 jobs in the last year, a 1.1% increase. This exceeded the national average of employment growth, which increased by only 0.9%. Overall, Ontario’s unemployment rate finished the year at 5.4%, below last year’s unemployment rate of 5.5% and also below the national unemployment rate of 5.6%. Ontario now has the second lowest unemployment rate in the country.

    While it’s true that Ontario’s job growth in 2018 slowed when compared to 2017 (1.1% compared to 2.5%) this slowdown was a trend across the country. Job growth across Canada decelerated from a 2.3% increase in 2017 to a 0.9% increase in 2018. Job growth in 2018 looked more like job growth trends in 2015 and 2016, rather than the outlier year of 2017, meaning that there is no merit to the argument that reforms in Bill 148 caused job loss or even less job creation.

    All of the jobs added in Ontario were due to an increase in full-time work, meaning the total amount of wages going to Ontario’s workers increased this year.

    And what kind of jobs are they? The service sector saw an increase in employment by 1.4%, led by increases in transportation and warehousing, business, building and other services and educational services. This means that the jobs that are being created are not simply in the public sector or in sectors unaffected by labour law changes, as some may assume. Instead, job growth has occurred in many of the very sectors that were directly impacted by Bill 148.

    It is noteworthy that employment in the food service and accommodation sector rose by 0.8%, while total hours worked in that sector rose by 1.7% over the last year. This means that wages and conditions for workers in fast food restaurants, hotels and retail – which are often among the lowest – improved in 2018. The big business lobby argued vociferously that this sector in particular would be hard hit by the new labour law changes and see big job losses.

    The real story 

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce stated this fall that “Bill 148 was too much, too fast. The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences came at too high a cost to Ontario’s economy.”

    But the reality is over the last 12 months in Ontario, employment, wages, and the total hours of work increased, while unemployment decreased. The big business predictions about Bill 148 turned out to be nothing more than baseless scaremongering.

    Sadly, the reforms in Bill 148 were largely rolled back by the new government’s Bill 47, which came into effect on January 1, 2019. The province gutted the much needed reforms in Bill 148, despite the evidence that increasing the minimum wage and introducing paid sick days, equal-pay-for-equal work and rules that made it easier to join and keep and union actually led to increased employment.

    We can take heart that making these reforms not only improved the lives of workers, but they did not have the disastrous consequences for Ontario’s economy that some predicted. Now we have to continue fighting to improve working conditions for all Ontario workers.

    Read the full Rank and File story.