• published Decent Work Pledge in Resources 2018-12-21 15:49:17 -0500

  • published Placard: Text (SMS) Fight to 647-360-9487 in Resources 2018-12-21 15:40:55 -0500

  • published Infographic: Victory for Temp Agency Workers in Resources 2018-12-21 15:33:07 -0500

  • published Infographic: Premier Ford is NOT for the people in Resources 2018-12-21 15:30:42 -0500

  • published Infographic: Corporate Greed at Work in Resources 2018-12-21 15:25:29 -0500

  • Media Release: Doug Ford fails Ontario workers with the passage of Bill 47, say leaders in the Fight for $15 and Fairness movement

    (TORONTO, ON) -- With the unconscionable passing of Bill 47, which takes away basic workplace rights from Ontarians, this government has shown again that it is governing for the few, making decisions without sufficient consultation and research that will drive millions of working Ontarians into poverty, say labour and community advocates.

    “The Ford government is attacking workers across this province. Workers have been telling them what’s needed for a dignified life: workplace laws that offer protections based on the realities of modern workplaces and the very real need for a $15 minimum wage. Instead, this government has chosen to treat Ontario as if the laws of the 1990s will do the trick today. They won’t,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Passing Bill 47 leaves millions of Ontarians without the protections and wages that are needed for them and their families to thrive in our province.”

    “It is clear that workers can’t count on their government to support them. Unions will. I urge all Ontario workers to join a union so they can collectively bargain better rights in their workplaces and keep fighting until these protections are the law for every worker in this province,” added Buckley.

    The Ontario economy benefited from the labour law reforms introduced in 2017, with 83,000 new jobs created since the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act came into effect.  Unemployment has also dropped to record lows, after minimum wage was increased to $14.

    “Passing Bill 47 shows that this government is not considering the real-world effects of decent work laws, which have helped the Ontario economy,” added Buckley. “It also ignores the voices of the people who will be most affected by these laws – women workers, racialized workers, Indigenous workers and workers with a disability. Now, it will be much easier for unscrupulous employers to take advantage of their employees. I say shame on this government for the damage it has done to Ontario workers.”

    Today’s announcement by the government of Ontario repealing the majority of Bill 148 steals basic rights from Ontario workers. Ford’s plan eliminates paid sick days, cuts wages, makes it easier to fire workers in precarious work, makes it more difficult to join and keep a union, cancels fairer scheduling laws and lowers fines for employers who break the law.

    This announcement also means a real-dollar wage cut for minimum wage employees.

    “Under this new act, it will be at least 2025 before minimum wage workers see a $15 minimum wage, and by then it will be, once again, a sub-poverty wage,” said Pam Frache, Coordinator of the Fight for $15 and Fairness. “Doug Ford’s government is cutting our $15 minimum wage just six weeks before it was to take effect. To cut wages, to cut sick days, and to make it easier to fire workers who are already in precarious situations is cruel and callous in the extreme.”

    Ontarians have held marches, rallies, signed and presented petitions, called and emailed MPPs demanding this government protect workplace rights and the $15 minimum wage. Nonetheless, the government has passed Bill 47, despite growing public opposition.

    “Removing equal pay for equal work provisions will increase the gender and equity wage gap, and intensify the discrimination that so many workers face in the labour market,” said Frache. “And it goes without saying that as long as employers are allowed to pay part-time staff less than their full-time counterparts, employers will have an incentive to create multiple part-time jobs instead of creating full-time ones.”

    “We know that without strong workplace protections and a $15 minimum wage, workers’ health suffers. We hear from educators that students who face poverty face difficulty learning in school and themselves often work to supplement the low wages of their parents,” said Buckley. “By contrast, a higher minimum wage is good for workers, for the economy, and for our communities. That’s why the labour movement and communities are going to continue to push for changes, including a $15 minimum wage.”

    To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:

    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator,
    Fight for $15 & Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: “Premier Ford broke his promise: He’s not for the people” say community and labour advocates

    (TORONTO, ON) -- Supporters of the $15 & Fairness campaign and decent work laws will pack the Queen’s Park Public Gallery to witness the final vote on Bill 47 on Tuesday, November 20, as the Ford government’s controversial legislation gets debated for its third reading.

    A Campaign Research Poll released last week showed that 77 per cent, more than two-thirds of Ontarians including 64 per cent of Progressive Conservative voters, opposed the elimination of paid sick days, which Bill 47 seeks to do. In another survey, released by the Canadian Medical Association, 8 in 10 Ontarians said, in reference to the Bill 47 provision that will allow employers to ask for sick notes, that if their employer required a sick note, they would probably come in to work when ill.

    Members of Provincial Parliament are expected to debate the Bill one last time, between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm on Tuesday, November 20, followed by a final vote. However, the Ford government has the power to change the timing of the debate at the last minute, to avoid public scrutiny.

    If passed, Bill 47 would impose a real-dollar wage cut for Ontario’s lowest paid workers by delaying $15 until at least 2025. The Bill would also eliminate the two paid sick days, reduce the number of unpaid personal emergency leave days, make it easier to fire workers who decline last minute shifts and make it harder for workers to access union protection.

    When:  Tuesday, November 20, 2018 
    Where: Public Gallery, Queen’s Park Legislature
    Speakers: Community and labour advocates involved with the Ontario-wide $15 & Fairness campaign will have media availability after the vote on Bill 47.

    For more information and to arrange interviews: 
    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator, Fight for $15 and Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: “We do not consent to delaying $15 minimum wage until 2025” say students, at a first-ever high school protest of Ford government’s attacks on workers’ rights

    (TORONTO, ON) -- High school students, joined by teachers, will call on Premier Doug Ford to withdraw Bill 47 by organizing an action on Friday, November 9, from 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at Toronto’s Bloor and Yonge intersection. What stands to be the first-ever high school student rally in support of a $15 minimum wage, comes at the heels of 50+ Ontario-wide emergency actions that were held in response to the introduction of Bill 47 on October 23.

    Bill 47, currently in its second reading, seeks to repeal almost all of the new workplace protections that were adopted a year ago, including the $15 minimum wage that is still scheduled to come into effect on January 1, 2019 ($14.10 for students). If passed, Bill 47 would impose a real dollar wage cut for Ontario’s lowest paid workers by delaying $15 until 2025. The Bill would also eliminate the two paid sick days, reduce the number of unpaid personal emergency leave days, and make it easier for employers to fire workers who decline last minute shifts.

    Students are holding the demonstration to call attention to the impact of poverty wage jobs. While parents juggle multiple jobs to pay the bills and tuition fees skyrocket, an increasing number of students are joining the workforce to help their families make ends meet.

    When:  Demonstration on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 4:00 to 5:30 pm
    Where: Northwest corner of the Bloor and Yonge intersection in Toronto
    Speakers: High school students, teachers, community organizers will speak about the impact of Bill 47 and have media availability.  

    For more information: 
    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator, Fight for $15 and Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: “Taking away protections from workers makes Ontario Open for Sickness” say advocates, who are calling on Premier Ford to immediately withdraw Bill 47

    (TORONTO, ON) -- Leaders of the $15 and Fairness movement, including a family physician, a mother who lost her 2-year old son to influenza and a former temp agency worker, will be speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 2:00 pm in the Queen’s Park media studio.

    Last week Doug Ford government tabled Bill 47, seeking to repeal almost all of the new workplace protections that were adopted a year ago, which aimed to ensure safety and well being on the job.

    If passed, Bill 47 will:

    • eliminate 2 paid sick days and reduce access to personal emergency leave
    • lower penalties assigned to employers for violating workplace laws
    • make it easier to deny workers any employment standards protections -- including EI, CPP and WSIB -- by misclassifying them as self-employed contractors, instead of employees
    • make it easier for employers to fire workers who decline last-minute shifts
    • impose a real dollar wage cut for Ontario’s lowest paid workers by delaying a $15 minimum wage in Ontario to 2025
    • allow employers to pay part-time and temporary agency workers a lower wage than their full-time or directly-hired counterparts, which will lead to an increase in precarious jobs with no benefits

    When: Press Conference on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 at 2:00 pm
    Where: Queen’s Park Media Studio
    Speakers: Dr. Danyaal Raza, a family physician and member of Decent Work & Health Network, Jill Promoli, mother of Jude who died at the age of two due to influenza, Navi Aujla, former temp agency worker and Deena Ladd, Workers’ Action Centre.

    For more information: 
    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator, Fight for $15 and Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: Emergency actions to be held across Ontario, in protest of Doug Ford’s attack on decent work laws

    (TORONTO, ON) -- In response to Ford Government’s Bill 47, which was tabled yesterday and seeks to freeze the minimum wage and repeal the most basic protections for workers, emergency actions will be held by community and labour groups across Ontario starting today, announced leaders in the $15 and Fairness movement including the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Workers’ Action Center.

    The bill, if passed, will mean a real-dollar wage cut for minimum wage employees, the elimination of two paid sick days, fairer scheduling rules and the right to equal pay for equal work.

    “Big corporations will get all the benefit of these changes, not Ontarians. Not the people who are struggling to make ends meet on two or three or four jobs,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President, Chris Buckley.

    “Millions of workers voted for Ford because they believed him when he said he would stand up for the little guy,” said Pam Frache, coordinator of the Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign. “By attacking our new labour laws, Ford has betrayed the voters of Ontario and they will not forget.”

    Emergency actions will include a rally outside the Ministry of Labour in Toronto today at 5:00 PM as well as other protests being organized across Ontario. To see the most up to date listing of events, visit

    Wednesday, October 24

    Oakville Emergency Action
    Wednesday, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM, Oakville GO Bus station, 214 Cross Ave.

    Ottawa Emergency Action
    Wednesday, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM - Ottawa Board of Trade, 328 Somerset St. West

    North Bay Emergency Action
    Wednesday, 4:00 – 5:00 PM – Intersection of Judge Street and Lakeshore Street 

    Waterloo Emergency Action
    Wednesday, 4:00 PM - Waterloo Square, 75 King St South

    London Emergency Action
    Wednesday, 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM - London Chamber of Commerce, 244 Pall Mall St. 

    Durham Emergency Action
    Wednesday, 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM - MPP Lorne Coe Office, 114 Dundas St. East

    Toronto Emergency Rally at the Ministry of Labour

    Wednesday, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM – Ministry of Labour, 400 University Ave.

    Thursday, October 25

    Peel Emergency Rally
    Thursday, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM, Corner of Hurontario St. and Steeles Ave., Brampton

    Kingston Emergency Rally

    Thursday, 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Tim Hortons, 681 Princess St.

    Scarborough Emergency Action
    Thursday, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM, ACCES Employment (temp agency), 2100 Ellesmere Road, Suite 250 -- (Markham Rd. and Ellesmere Rd. intersection)

    Monday, October 29

    Hamilton Emergency Meeting
    Monday, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM, Workers Arts & Heritage Centre, 51 Stuart St.

    To arrange interviews or for further information, please contact:

    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator,
    Fight for $15 & Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: “Doug Ford breaks his promise to the people,” community and labour groups to respond to the government’s plans to repeal Bill 148

    (TORONTO, ON) -- Leaders of the $15 and Fairness movement, including the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Workers’ Action Centre, will be speaking at a press conference on Tuesday October 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm in the Queen’s Park media studio.

    With only ten weeks to go before 1.7 million Ontario workers get their long-awaited $15 minimum wage, the Minister of Labour announced today that the government will be taking steps to repeal Bill 148. In addition to cutting the minimum wage, the government is also planning to repeal two meager paid sick days, right to equal pay for equal work as well as fairer scheduling rules. By taking away these basic protections that put more money in the pockets of low wage workers, the government will hurt women, workers of colour, and newcomers the most.

    When: Press Conference on Tuesday, October 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm
    Where: Queen’s Park Media Studio
    Speakers: Chris Buckley, President, Ontario Federation of Labour; Pam Frache, Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign; Dr. Jesse McLaren, emergency physician; Gilleen Pearce, small business owner and coordinator, Better Way Alliance, and other community leaders to be announced.

    For more information, please contact:

    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator,
    Fight for $15 & Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: To defend decent work laws and the $15 minimum wage, Ontario workers are holding the largest coordinated day of action in a decade

    (TORONTO, ON) -- Over 50 actions are expected on Monday, October 15, when communities across Ontario mobilize in defense of new workers’ rights brought in by Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, including the $15 minimum wage that is scheduled for January 1.

    What stands to be the largest coordinated day of action for Ontario workers in the past decade will target ridings of Conservative MPPs, after Premier Doug Ford revealed the government is considering the full repeal of Bill 148, cancelling Ontario’s decent work laws.

    “It is not too late for Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet to do the right thing and help Ontario workers,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “This October 15, wherever Conservative MPPs look across the province, they’ll find workers who want, need and deserve decent work laws, including the $15 minimum wage.”

    “The law is the law, and as it stands, nearly 2 million workers are scheduled to get a raise in 11 weeks,” says Pam Frache, Coordinator of Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign. “Every single day we encounter people who tell us they voted for Premier Ford because they thought his promise to be ‘for the people’ meant standing up to corporate elites, like Galen Weston and Rocco Rossi. Repealing Bill 148 now would be a slap in the face of many workers who voted for Premier Ford,” she added.

    Rocco Rossi is the Chief Executive Officer of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which has repeatedly called for a full repeal of Bill 148. That same bill brought in modest reforms like 10 days of job-protected emergency leave (the first two days paid), equal pay for equal work, and making it easier to join and keep a union (read more here).

    Actions across the province range from public rallies, visits to the offices of Conservative MPPs, workplace actions in support of $15 & Fairness, campus actions at universities and colleges as well as neighbourhood outreach blitzes.

    The day of action is coordinated by the Fight for $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour as well as community, student, teacher, faculty, faith, health, labour and non-profit associations across the province.

    Scroll below for October 15 Actions, more details are coming, including actions at Ontario’s 24 colleges. To see the latest listing of events, visit or


    MPP Rod Phillips’ Office
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM — 1 Rossland Road W, Suite 209


    MPP Jim Wilson’s Office
    4:15 PM to 6:15 PM — 180 Parsons Rd, Unit 28


    Outreach Blitz
    2:30 PM to 4:00 PM — 15900 Bayview Avenue


    Outreach Blitz
    5:00 PM to 6:30 PM — Brampton City Hall, 2 Wellington Street West


    MPP Will Bouma’s Office
    1:00 PM to 2:00 PM -- Assemble at Laurier Brantford (student centre), then visit the MPP’s office at 96 Nelson Street (Suite 101)


    MPP David Piccini’s Office
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM — 513 Division Street


    Outreach Blitz
    12:00 PM to 2:00 PM — Corner of Dixon and Islington


    Outreach Blitz and Banner Action
    9:00 AM to 4:00 PM -- University Centre and Guelph City Hall


    Mohawk College
    12:00 Noon to 1:00 pm — Fennel Campus (135 Fennel Avenue West)

    6:00 PM to 7:00 PM — Jackson Square (James North and King Street)


    Outreach Blitz - Queen’s University
    12:00 Noon to 1:00 PM (University Avenue & Union Street West)

    Outreach Blitz - St. Lawrence College
    1:00 pm to 2:00 pm (main entrance, transit stop)

    Outreach Blitz - Cataraqui Town Centre
    4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (location TBA)


    Fanshawe College
    10 AM to 3 PM — F Building at Fanshawe College

    Chamber of Commerce Action
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM — London Chamber of Commerce, 244 Pall Mall St


    Outreach Blitz
    11:00 AM to 1:00 PM -- Westwood Mall, (7205 Goreway Drive), at the bus shelter

    Outreach Blitz
    5:00 PM to 7:00 PM — Mississauga Celebration Square (300 City Centre Dr)


    Action Against Corporate Bullies
    6:00 PM to 7:00 PM — Real Canadian Superstore, 18120 Yonge St


    15 Workplace Actions
    9:00 AM to 9:00 PM — Across the city


    Banner Drop
    4:30 PM to 6:00 PM — Trafalgar Road exit – South-West QEW off-Ramp


    Outreach Blitz
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM — in front of Loblaws, 363 Rideau St (corner of Nelson St)


    Outreach Blitz
    4:30 PM to 6:00 PM — South East corner of George St North & Simcoe St


    Centennial College, Progress Campus
    9:00 AM to 12:00 PM — Progress Campus, the Bridge

    Scarborough Centre
    10:30 AM to 12:00 PM — Intersection of Warden Ave and Lawrence Ave East

    Scarborough Agincourt
    12:30 PM to 2:00 PM — Sheppard Ave East and Kennedy Road Intersection

    Scarborough Rouge Park
    2:30 PM to 4:00 PM — Morningside Avenue and Milner Avenue Intersection


    12:00 PM to 2:00 PM — Outside the Ministry of Transportation, 289 St Paul St


    Morning Outreach Blitz
    7:30 AM to 8:45 AM — Dufferin & Sherbourne TTC stations

    York University Outreach Blitz
    11:00 AM to 12:30 PM — Vari Hall, York University at 198 York Blvd

    University of Toronto Outreach Blitz
    11:00 AM to 1:30 PM — Sid Smith (East Side)

    Rally outside Ministry of Labour
    12:30 PM to 1:30 PM – 400 University Ave

    Educators at Lawrence West
    3:15 PM to 5:00 PM — Lawrence West Subway Station


    MPP Mike Harris’ Office
    3:00 PM to 5:00 PM — 63 Arthur St South Unit 3&4

    For more information:

    Nil Sendil
    Communications Coordinator
    Fight for $15 & Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • Media Advisory: Press Conference on the $15 minimum wage

    (TORONTO, ON) -- Leaders of the $15 and Fairness movement, including the Fight for $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour, will be speaking at a press conference on Friday September 28, 2018 at 9:30 am in the Queen’s Park media studio.

    With mere weeks to go before 1.7 million Ontario workers get their long-awaited $15 minimum wage, the Minister of Labour mentioned to reporters Wednesday that the government intends to cancel the $15 minimum wage, which is currently scheduled to come in on January 1, 2019.

    Freezing the minimum wage at $14 would ignore the 66% public support and 62% small business support for the $15 minimum wage. It would also ignore the economic gains to be made from putting decent wages in low wage workers’ pockets. Bill 148, Fair Wages, Better Jobs Act, brought in the $15 minimum wage and many improvements for workers after an extensive two-and-a-half-year province-wide consultation.

    The Ontario Federation of Labour and the Fight for $15 and Fairness emphasize that, contrary to what the Minister suggests, there is no need for another review.

    When:  Press Conference on Friday September 28, 2018 at 9:30 am
    Where: Queen’s Park Media Studio
    Chris Buckley, President, Ontario Federation of Labour; 
    Deena Ladd, Workers’ Action Centre; 
    Christine, a minimum wage earner; and,
    other community leaders to be announced.

    For further information contact:   

    Nil Sendil 
    Communications Coordinator,
    Fight for $15 & Fairness l 647-710-5795

  • published What we won and why we keep fighting in Media 2018-12-17 13:26:44 -0500

    What we won and why we keep fighting

    As you know, the Ford government passed Bill 47 on November 21, 2018, despite overwhelming public opposition to the bill and by ignoring all evidence in support of stronger labour laws.

    While Premier Ford rolled back significant improvements we had won last year with Bill 148, we succeeded in protecting many gains that will make a real difference in workers’ lives. This is thanks to you and thousands of others taking action!

    Please read below to learn more about the reforms we've collectively protected by putting up resistance every step of the way:

    1. $14 minimum wage
      Through grassroots organizing we raised Ontario’s adult general minimum wage to $14 (from $11.60). This accomplishment transfers $3.4 billion from corporate profit to workers’ pockets – each and every year.

    2. Indexation
      Even though the minimum wage will be frozen again until October 1, 2020, we preserved future annual cost of living adjustments that will help prevent the minimum wage from falling further below the poverty line. This is an important win, considering the fact that each year that prices rise and wages don’t, workers experience a cut in their earning power.

    3. Job-protected emergency leave for all
      Before the $15 & Fairness campaign, 1.7 million workers did not have job security if they had to leave a shift due to illness, family emergency or other unplanned urgent situation. At the time, existing job-protected emergency leave only applied to workplaces with 50 or more workers. As a result, workers in smaller workplaces found themselves facing job loss or discipline if they had to deal with an emergency.

      Although the Ford government has reduced the overall number of job-protected days and restricted their use with Bill 47, we have been able to defend the access to these emergency days by all workers – regardless of the size of their employer. This provides protection for nearly 2 million workers in smaller (and often more precarious) workplaces.

    4. Misclassification still illegal under the law
      Misclassification is the term used to describe employers who wrongly classify their workers as independent contractors instead of employees. When this happens, workers lose their employment rights under the law and they also lose access to Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan, and more. Under Bill 148, misclassification became explicitly prohibited in Ontario.
      While Bill 47 puts the onus on the worker to prove misclassification, it still retains the prohibition under the Act.

    5. Better protections for temporary agency workers:

      -  In 2013 we won better protection for temp agency workers when wages go unpaid.
      Both the temp agency and the client company are held responsible for any unpaid wages, overtime or public holiday pay. This important protection remains.

      -  Temp agency workers continue to be entitled to notice or pay in lieu of notice if a contract that was supposed to last at least three months is terminated early.
      We have retained this modest, but important penalty for employers who disregard the rights of temp agency workers.

      -  Joint responsibility for workplace health and safety.
      Prior to our campaign, corporations used temp agencies as a way to avoid their obligations under the workers' compensation and health and safety acts. In other words, because the temp agency is considered to be the official employer of temp agency workers, the client company was not legally or financially responsible for workplace accidents.

      In 2018, due to public pressure, the government finally moved to hold client companies (where temp agency employees actually work) legally and financially responsible for injury and accident costs and liability under workers’ compensation. This protects temp agency workers and removes an important financial incentive for employers to use agency workers in the first place. We’ve retained this change.

    6. Limited protections against contract flipping
      We’ve kept the Bill 148 provision that protects workers when a building services contract expires and a new contract is awarded to a different service provider.

      This protection against contract flipping applies to cleaning, security, and food service contracts so that, in the event that an existing contract expires, the wage, working conditions and union protections previously in place are extended to the workers employed by the new service provider.

    7. Three weeks paid vacation after 5 years
      We protected the right to an extra week of paid vacation, after five years with the same employer, which we had won with Bill 148.

    8. Domestic violence leave
      Domestic or sexual violence leave is a job-protected leave of absence that we won with Bill 148 and maintained. It provides up to 10 days and 15 weeks in a calendar year of time off to be taken for specific purposes when an employee or an employee’s child has experienced or been threatened with domestic or sexual violence. The first five days of leave taken in a calendar year are paid, and the rest are unpaid.

    9. A stronger, more united movement
      Our movement has fundamentally changed the conversation about workplace rights.
      77% of Ontarians support paid sick leave and a majority of Ontarians support equal pay for equal work, fairer scheduling rules and greater access to union protections. In fact, two-thirds of Ontarians – including over 60% of small business owners and 42% of Conservative voters – support a $15 minimum wage.

      When workers fight for these rights in the workplace now, they are going to have more public support. This lays the foundation for strong collective bargaining campaigns for unionized workers. It will also help non-unionized workers fight wrongful dismissal when employers try to roll back wage increases and paid sick days that are in place.

    But perhaps our most important achievement is the exponential growth of our decent work movement across Ontario with roots in diverse communities, campuses, workplaces, and neighbourhoods.

    By building on this momentum, there is no doubt we are going to be much better situated to make $15 and Fairness a reality for every worker in Ontario.

    Please join us in the upcoming days to celebrate our collective hard work and stay organized to hold the Ford government to account for their betrayal to the people of Ontario.

    See below for events happening next week, and visit our website regularly to see the latest listings.

    Saturday, December 8th
    A Celebration of Resistance
    Saturday, 7:00PM - 10:00PM - ETFO Provincial Office, 136 Isabella St
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Monday, December 10th
    Keep Fighting for $15: Beyond Bill 47 Organizing meeting
    Monday, 6:00PM - 8:00PM - ATU Local 107, 1005 King St E
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Monday, December 10th to 14th (Week of Action)

    Workers’ Comp is a Right! Provincial Week of Action
    Actions all week across Ontario from Toronto to Thunder Bay
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Tuesday, December 11th
    Holiday Social and Strategy Session
    Tuesday, 6:30PM - 8:00PM - Fox and Feather Pub and Grill, 283 Elgin Street
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Saturday, December 15th
    Brampton Social: Celebration of Resistance
    Saturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM - Central PS Community Centre, 24 Alexander St
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

  • Barrie Today: Activists came knocking and the deputy premier was home

    By Kim Champion

    Members of Fight for $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour had issues they wanted to discuss with Elliott

    Workers rights activists met with Newmarket-Aurora MPP and Deputy Premier Christine Elliott on Tuesday during constituents’ week to plead their case that paid sick days are essential to public health.

    As well as advocating for a $15-an-hour minimum wage and safe workplaces, members of Fight for $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour wanted to discuss with Elliott, also the province's health minister, the consequences of taking away paid sick days.

    The local groups are fired up over the Ontario government’s move to repeal much of the former Liberal government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, also known as Bill 148. The Ford government’s Bill 47, Making Ontario Open for Business Act, would, if passed, freeze the current minimum wage at $14 an hour until 2020. 

    Personal emergency leave, currently consisting of two paid days and eight unpaid days of protected leave annually for each worker, would be replaced with the right to three sick days, two bereavement days and three family responsibility days annually — all unpaid. Employers could once again require a doctor's note for time off.

    “Paid sick days are essential to public health, especially coming into the too often deadly flu season,” $15 and Fairness spokesperson Jessa McLean said in an email. “Allowing employers to demand sick notes would be a burden on the already overcrowded health-care system and contribute to the hallway medicine that the Progressive Conservative government has vowed to end in Ontario.”

    McLean's request for a meeting was acknowledged by Elliott in early October when the deputy minister was confronted by protestors in Aurora as she made her way into a local chambers of commerce event. Elliott told them she would be happy to meet.

    The group delivered a petition that had more than 500 names on it from Elliott's northern York Region riding to maintain worker protections in Bill 148.  

    “We presented hundreds of signatures from her constituents and we asked MPP Elliott to pledge to vote to withdraw Bill 47,” McLean said. “And she would not.”

    The delegation who met with Elliott included McLean, Dr. Jesse McLaren, an emergency room doctor who shared his view that people turning up in the ER seeking doctor's notes for employers were a drain on public health resources, and CUPE Local 905 chief steward Katherine Grzejszczak, who shared her beliefs about fair scheduling, precarious employment and the positive outcomes of elevating labour standards across the board.

    “Elliott acknowledged that the Health Ministry had not been consulted on Bill 47, which includes changes that will have obvious impacts on public health,” McLean added.

    Meanwhile, Newmarket Chamber of Commerce CEO Tracy Walters said in a previous interview the Ford government’s new labour bill would "take off some of the pressure (small businesses) have been feeling on Bill 148 and the speed of the changes. Reducing the red tape burden will be welcomed."

    While Walter said many local businesses support modernizing labour laws — and many already pay their employees above the minimum wage and for personal emergency days —  Bill 148 brought in changes too quickly and without consultation.

    "It was too much, too soon," she added, "and actually caused more red tape." 

    In a media release announcing the regulatory and legislative changes to come with the expected passage of Bill 47, Elliott said: “This new legislation will help bring more jobs to communities like ours and create a better environment for businesses to grow. During the campaign, we heard that doing business in Ontario was becoming increasingly unaffordable, and Bill 148 imposed unnecessary costs on Ontario job creators. That’s why we’re cutting red tape and taking concrete measures to create jobs and make sure Ontario is open for business.”

    ~With files from Debora Kelly

    Read the Barrie today full story

  • Huff Post: Ontario MPP Ignored Concerns About Sick Days, Doctors' Notes, Constituents Say

    By Emma Paling

    A meeting with Ross Romano was unproductive, his Sault Ste. Marie constituents say.

    Constituents say a Progressive Conservative MPP — who told the legislature he's gotten "nothing but compliments" on the provincial government's new labour bill — has ignored their concerns.

    Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano spoke about Bill 47 only once in the legislature. Called the Making Ontario Open For Business Act, it repeals many of the labour reforms introduced by former premier Kathleen Wynne. It passed its final reading on Wednesday.

    "I have been getting nothing but compliments from everybody back home — constant compliments," Romano said on Oct. 31. "All I hear is: Thank you, thank you, thank you to our government for getting rid of this horrible [Liberal] Bill 148."

    One week earlier, constituent Mike McCleary emailed Romano a detailed list of his concerns about the law. He didn't get a response.

    "The fact that he says we're just complimenting it blindly, it's insulting," McCleary told HuffPost Canada. "It shows what he really thinks of the working class community here."

    The father-of-two followed up with messages to Romano on Facebook and Twitter, and another email. This time he copied NDP leader Andrea Horwath and a CBC News reporter. He heard back in an hour.

    "It didn't really seem like a coincidence that when I copied the Opposition leader and a couple media sources, I got a response back so quickly."

    Eventually, Romano agreed to meet with McCleary and some others who were worried about the bill on Nov. 6.

    "I'd say it was overall pretty unproductive," McCleary said of the meeting. "I had asked him for specific answers on things, but [got] mostly political answers dancing around."

    In the meeting, Romano said again that he has heard no complaints about Bill 47, according to Tara Maszczakiewicz, regional vice president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, who was there. Her union has been unequivocally critical of the bill.

    "I don't know where he is, if he hides from social media, or what," Maszczakiewicz told HuffPost Canada. "But there were people outside his office protesting on the Tuesday, in the pouring rain, before we met with him on Friday."

    Approached at Queen's Park on Wednesday, Romano told HuffPost Canada he couldn't take questions because he had a meeting. His staff has also not replied to a request for comment.

    McCleary is concerned about how the bill's changes to leave and doctor's notes will affect workers.

    The bill scraps a rule that employees have to give workers two paid sick days a year, and lowers the total number of days off from 10 to eight. It also rescinds a rule forbidding employers from requesting a doctor's note after an employee takes a sick day.

    "I don't want to go sit in the doctor's office for four or five hours to get a doctor's note because I had to take a little bit of time to take care of myself," McCleary, who works evenings at a call centre, said.

    He said that the transit system in the Sault isn't very good, so people who need a doctor's note may have to choose between sitting on the bus for hours or paying for a cab. A cab across town costs about $20, he said, and doctor's offices usually charge at least $10 for a note.

    "When you're talking about a low-income family, that could be the difference between a couple of meals," he said.

    Read the Huff Post full story

  • Global News: Dozens of protesters rally in Kingston against PC government’s changes to bill 148

    By Frazer Snowdon

    Nearly fifty people gathered in front of a Tim Horton's Thursday, speaking out against sweeping changes to bill 148. This includes freezing minimum wage and scrapping a number of provisions meant to help workers.

    Nearly 50 people gathered at a Tim Horton’s in Kingston to speak out against the Ford government’s announcement of sweeping changes to the labour reform bill.

    The protest was one of many happening across the province.

    In Kingston, representatives from a number of labour unions showed up in support of those affected by the proposed changes.

    On Tuesday, the Ford government announced an action to repeal several measures in the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act, including freezing the minimum wage at $14 an hour. It had been slated to increase to $15 an hour by 2019.

    “We need to keep changing minds until common sense says $15 an hour needs to happen now, not later,” says Lesley Jamieson of Kingston and District Labour Council.

    On Tuesday, the Ford government introduced a new bill with a slew of changes that will scrap labour reforms put into place by former premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government.

    The new bill will see the bulk of the Liberals’ changes scrapped. Since the implementation of Bill 148, Jamieson says workers were seeing improvement in employment conditions.

    “They are seeing personal emergency days for the first time,” Jamieson says. “There is a sense that their work is appreciated and valued in the workplace.”

    But with the repeal, several reforms will be changed — like two paid sick days — and freezing the minimum wage at $14 an hour until 2020.

    The legislation brought in by the Liberals also required employees to be paid for three hours if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its start, and giving them 10 emergency leave days per year, two of them paid. Jamieson says repealing the bill and replacing it with one that takes away everything gained to make workplaces better is a step backward.

    “We’re going to see less money staying in Kingston, more money leaving and going into the pockets of those who don’t need it.”

    Kingston resident Doug Nesbitt helped start the “Fight for 15 and Fairness” campaign in the region. Nesbitt has worked in a variety of minimum wage jobs throughout his life and says the decision to repeal is not for the people.

    “I think it’s kind of a cruel decision by the government to do this,” Nesbitt says. “I think they are listening to the business lobbying.”

    Watch the Global News full story

  • Windsor Star: Workers rally to oppose 'regressive' labour bill which halts Jan. minimum wage hike

    By Taylor Campbell

    Hands off our decent work laws.

    That was the message nine workers’ rights advocates had for Ontario Premier Doug Ford at a rally in Windsor Friday.

    A new workplace standards bill, Bill 47, introduced at Queen’s Park in October, promises to repeal the majority of worker protections implemented in January by the previous Liberal government through Bill 148.

    “What would be adequate is to leave the legislation as it is and then review it for improvements,” said Mario Spagnuolo, organizer of the local “$15 and Fairness” group.

    The province-wide organization was created in 2013 to pressure the Ontario government to increase minimum wage and bring workers above the poverty line. Members of $15 and Fairness want to see provincial minimum wage rise to $15, something that was supposed to happen in January under Bill 148.

    Bill 47 is regressive, Spagnuolo said. He and the members of his group, many of them union representatives, gathered near the Windsor Chamber of Commerce to raise awareness.

    “We believe the Ford government is trying to ram through this legislation without proper consultation,” said Spagnuolo. “It’s regressive in nature, and what we want to see is some progress when it comes to the minimum standards and employment standards in Ontario.”

    Under Bill 47, minimum wage would remain at $14 per hour instead of increasing to $15 per hour January 2019. Annual minimum wage adjustments would be tied to inflation, and would start in October of 2020. Employees would no longer be entitled to the two paid days of personal emergency leave each year granted by Bill 148. Employers would be allowed to pay part-time and full-time employees different wages for equal work, which had been prohibited under Bill 148.

    “This is going to bring us back a few years instead of forward,” said Spagnuolo, who raised his group’s concerns at the constituency office of  MPP Rick Nicholls (C. —Chatham-Kent-Essex) before the rally Friday.

    “We wanted for him to hear some of our concerns and bring them back to the caucus.”

    Read the Windsor Star full story

  • York Region: Ford supporters ‘shocked’ by minimum wage freeze: York Region protest organizer

    By Dina Al-Shibeeb

    The organizer said the ‘biggest struggle’ when advocating for workers’ rights is that ‘generally people are unaware of their own rights’

    Some of Premier Doug Ford's supporters were “shocked” by the Progressive Conservative Party’s bill to freeze the minimum wage at $14 and eliminate Ontarians’ two paid sick leaves, says the organizer of York Region’s Fight for $15 & Fairness.

    “I have spoken with people who voted for Doug Ford, and earn a minimum wage and find out they are not getting raise in January,” said Jessa McLean during a town-hall meeting she organized at Newmarket’s CUPE 905 on Nov. 15. “Not only they were losing their raise they were counting on, but it was happening by somebody who didn’t say anything about it at the campaign trail.”

    McLean made the statement before the Ontario government passed Bill 47 on Wednesday Nov. 21.

    Fight for 15 & Fairness movement started on April 15, 2015 in the province, and now it's escalating its activism after the Ontario government introduced Making Ontario Open for Business Act, 2018 or Bill 47 in late October to repeal reforms in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act or Bill 148 enacted by the former Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.

    Click Here on the changes that will be made if Bill 47 is passed.

    'Selected' deputations

    The town hall meeting was held in reaction to deputations made to the province's finance and economic affairs committee session, also held in the same day on Nov. 15 to help the government make a decision on the bill, which Fight for $15 & Fairness criticized for having “only a handful of people selected from a compiled list.” 

    At the town hall meeting, McLean read a letter by a single woman in her 40s named Christine, who works three part-time, minimum wage jobs. The letter was supposed to be heard by the finance committee, however Christine couldn't find a substitute to cover one of her shifts, showing how the deputations are lacking in real representations.

    The organizer said the “biggest struggle” when advocating for workers’ rights is that “generally people are unaware of their own rights, when they gain them or when they lose them, so education is 90 per cent of the battle.”

    “The Conservative government holds a majority on the committee just like they do in the legislature, and so they pick — predominantly — who will speak, and we know that they already don't support workers' rights.”

    Inaccessibility' to politicians

    McLean also criticized local politicians' “inaccessibility to us but always listening to the corporate,” explaining how it took two months to arrange “a meeting with my own MPP Caroline Mulroney [for York-Simcoe], and even then, I was limited to 15 minutes.”

    The activist said she had to “ambush” Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care and MPP for Newmarket-Aurora, to speak with her at her Aurora office on Nov. 6.

    At the meeting, McLean was accompanied by Dr. Jesse McLaren, an ER doctor and a delegate from the Decent Work and Health Network as well as Katherine Grzejszczak, the newly elected CUPE local 905 president and also an organizer for Fight for $15 and Fairness.

    “We had to ambush her outside of a luncheon in order to get her to a promised meeting,” she said.

    After a face-to-face meeting, McLean said Elliott acknowledged she and her ministry might have not gotten “everything right” on Bill 47.

    McLean said she questioned Elliott about the cutbacks on sick leaves and if there is any “evidence” in “taking them away.” The activist recalled the minister saying: “Maybe we didn’t get everything right.”

    “Christine Elliott said that she wasn’t even consulted on sick days,” nor its "impact" on the health-care system, she added.  However, “four days later, she (Elliott) bragged about her involvement in Bill 47, so she is lying to somebody.”

    When asked about this by York RegionMedia Group, Elliott rejected McLean’s claim, saying she was “consulted on all legislation” as “as a senior member of cabinet.”

    “We make decisions as a team. I look forward to working with members of our government and with partners as we continue to ensure that Ontario is open for business.”

    Elliott's office also provided the following statement when asked about McLean’s frustration.

    “As Deputy Premier, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, and MPP, I am proud to have worked with our government to bring forward Bill 47 and repeal most parts of the Liberals’ job-killing Bill 148,” the statement read.

    At the Town Hall meeting, Carolina Jimenez, a nurse and co-ordinator for Decent Work and Health Network, also spoke out saying, “We can think of Bill 47 as a prescription for poor health.”

    While supporters of Bill 47 say “workers abuse the paid sick days and revoking them will be good for business,” Jimenez cited studies from New York and San Francisco, where “basic days have been legislated, about five to nine days, most workers took three days, and a quarter of the workers took no days off.”

    The nurse also said, on average, when people get “severely sick” such as with the flu, it usually lasts at least three days, and the Centre for Disease Control recommends people stay home for one to two days.

    Read the York Region full story