Jessica

  • Toronto Sun: Doug Ford, decent work laws mean safety for families

    By Chris Buckley

    Far too many Ontarians have experienced domestic or sexual violence. My own story is like many others: a father who was physically abusive towards my mother. It was 50 years ago, but I remember the day she was able to leave like it was yesterday. I remember trudging along beside her in the snow with my brothers and sister in tow. I remember that we headed to my Aunt’s house. I remember that we slept on the floor for weeks as my mother looked for work and then used her off hours to find us housing, see the doctor and find a lawyer; everything she needed to keep us safe.

    This was a time long before domestic and sexual violence leave existed in Ontario.

    Thankfully, workers fought for and won today’s laws, which provide survivors with five paid days off work to help them. It’s one portion of the decent work laws that Doug Ford wants to cancel.

    With decent work laws, keeping us safe would have been easier for my mother. Right now, Ontario has a number of new laws that improve life for workers in this province: the upcoming $15 minimum wage, two paid sick days, 10 personal emergency leave days, two of them paid, and laws that make it easier to join and keep a union.

    Doug Ford has said he will scrap the whole thing, leaving millions without these important protections. This isn’t good for working-age people anywhere in this province, and it’s not good for their children.

    Teachers tell us that losing decent work laws will put stress and strain on students who live in poverty. Doctors have told us that sick days and better wages improve the health of workers. Faith leaders report the benefits of decent work laws for members in their congregations.

    Ontario’s decent work laws are the result of a long process of consultation. I spoke to MPPs who were deciding on the law. As I sat in the committee rooms, I kept the stories I’ve heard from workers across this province in the back of my mind, along with my mother’s story.

    My brother, mother and I scraped by on my mother’s wages for many years. I wonder how her life would have been different with a decent minimum wage and decent work laws to help, including domestic and sexual violence leave.

    Decent work laws create the conditions for workers to do better. When workers do better, so do their families, and so does Ontario.

    Decent work laws, including domestic and sexual violence leave, would have provided my mother with the support every worker now has in this province.

    Doug Ford must stop listening to big corporations, and start listening to the millions of workers who will be left vulnerable if he cancels decent work laws and the Jan. 1 increase to a $15 minimum wage.

    Mr. Ford, it’s not too late to change your mind and keep your hands off decent work laws and the $15 minimum wage.

    Chris Buckley is the president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    Read the Toronto Sun full story


  • Inside Halton: Oakville protesters call on Doug Ford to leave labour reforms alone

    By David Lea 

    A group of residents concerned about the future of worker’s rights in this province took to the streets of Oakville to make their voices heard on Monday, Oct. 15.

    Around 20 people participated in a late afternoon protest on the Trafalgar Road QEW overpass in defence of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.

    The act, which was put in place by the previous Liberal government, would introduce a $15 minimum wage starting Jan. 1.

    Other features of the act included requirements that employers:

    • provide employees with two paid sick days per year;

    • provide three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service;

    •pay part-time, casual, temporary and seasonal employees the same rate as regular employees when they perform substantially the same work.

    Ontario Premier Doug Ford has pledged to scrap the bill and freeze the minimum wage at $14-an-hour.

    Ford has argued the labour reforms hurt business and kill jobs.

    At the Oakville protest residents waved signs reading “$15 is fair” and “Sick Days.”

    One larger banner protesters waved at passing vehicles said “Doug Ford hands off $15 min. wage & decent work.”

    The group also hung a banner from the overpass stating they were proud to support a $15 minimum wage and decent work for all.

    Oakville resident Pat Robinson said she was participating in the protest because Ford scrapping the bill would impact the students at the adult education centre she teaches at.

    She said the students need those paid sick days so they can take time off when they are sick without financial hardship.

    She also pointed out that some of these people have jobs as food handlers and as such are not really people one wants coming to work when they are sick.

    “Those other parts of the bill beyond the minimum wage increase are basic human rights,” said Robinson.

    The Oakville teacher also disputed Ford’s claims that Bill 148 is a job killer noting that her husband is a small-business owner who pays his employees $15-an-hour.

    “Your business model should be able to afford to do that,” she said.

    Maureen Weinberger, president of the Oakville & District Labour Council also participated in the protest.

    She said the group is there because it believes in a $15 minimum wage and decent work for everyone.

    “We’re fortunate our affiliated groups belong to unions and we have unions to bargain for us and get us decent wages and benefits, but there are lots of people out there, our daughters and sons, our families, our friends, the people in the community, who don’t have that and we think that’s wrong,” said Weinberger.

    “Everyone should have the right to decent work, decent pay and a decent life. That supports all of us. We spend our money in our communities and that creates jobs and gets our economy working well in our communities.”

    Weinberger said her daughter runs a small business and pays her employees well above minimum wage.

    “I think you create a business plan. That means you can have a good life and the people who help you earn that good life also can have a good life,” said Weinberger.

    “I don’t see how that is a problem.”

    The Oakville protest was part of a larger day of action, which saw demonstrations organized by the Ontario Federation of Labour in more than 20 Ontario municipalities.

    Read the Inside Halton full story


  • published The St. Catharines Standard: Fight for $15 resumes in Media 2018-10-19 13:39:32 -0400

    The St. Catharines Standard: Fight for $15 resumes

    By Allan Benner

    Workers Activist Group protests threat of Bill 148 repeal

    After years of fighting for a $15 minimum wage, members of Niagara Workers Activist Group are now fighting to keep the promised wage hike.

    Nearly two years after Ontario's former Liberal government approved Bill 148 increasing the minimum wage to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019, members of the grassroots organization formed that was in 2015 to lobby for a fair wage for workers are resuming their "moral battle."

    About two dozen Niagara Workers Activist Group members and labour organization representatives gathered in front of the Ministry of Transportation building on St. Paul Street Monday in one of more than 40 protests that took place across Ontario responding to plans announced earlier this month by Premier Doug Ford to repeal the $15 minimum wage, as well as other benefits such as 10 days of emergency leave, equal pay for part time and contract workers, and leaves of absence for victims of domestic violence.

    NWAG co-chair Lisa Britton, who organized the local protest, said numerous people working in Niagara's low-paying service industry jobs will be hard hit if the province follows through with its plans.

    She said the PC government "needs to understand that we need the $15 minimum wage — we need Bill 148."

    Although cool, rainy weather and "short notice" about the protest was blamed for modest participation, NWAG member Salaeh Waziruddin said there is substantial support for the minimum wage increase.

    "Everybody knows somebody who is trying to make it work, trying to make ends meet with minimum wage and it's not working," he said. "When we canvass, we are seeing a lot of support."

    Waziruddin said rolling back Bill 148 will be terrible for workers.

    "We can't let them do that. We have to organize," he told protesters. "We need to show them that if they take away our minimum wage, we're going to show our maximum rage."

    NWAG member Julia Lucas said the provincial government is "threatening to do everything they can to make life harder for the working people."

    "A third of the workers in this province are earning minimum wage, so there's a lot at stake. It's important for all of them to be able to pay for all the things that we take for granted," Lucas said. "This is a moral battle."

    Kyle Hoskin from Candaian Union of Public Employees Local 1287, representing workers at Emterra Environmental, said there's more at stake than just the $15 minimum wage.

    "This is going to impact every single person in this province," he said. "I think it's important that we protect this bill in its entirety with all of its provisions."

    Although public-sector union representatives participated in the protest, Bruce Allen from Unifor Local 199 pointed out that most minimum wage earners work in the private sector.

    "Right now I'm going to call on the private sector unions who aren't here — with the exception of me — and say, 'You guys have to step up,'" he said. "The private sector workforce has got to get behind this struggle."

    Britton said the group has plans for additional protests, if needed.

    She also invited people to get involved by emailing her at ljbritton7@gmail.com.

    Read The St. Catharines Standard full story 


  • The Brantford Expositor: Province urged to maintain work laws

    By Vincent Ball

    A handful of people gathered Monday at Brantford-Brant MPP Will Bouma’s constituency office to urge the provincial government to back off plans to repeal labour laws.

    The Brantford action was among about 50 expected to take part in communities across Ontario in defence of new workers’ rights brought in by Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, including the $15 minimum wage that is scheduled for Jan. 1.

    “We think Bill 148 should remain in place,” said Andja Milos, a 26-year-old Laurier Brantford criminology student, who was part of the group at Bouma’s office on Nelson Street.

    “I’ve worked for temp agencies and know what that’s like,” she said.

    “And there are a lot of people who work full-time hours but only get part-time pay.

    “We want fairness in the workplace and that’s what Bill 148 is all about.”

    The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act was brought in by the previous Liberal government. Premier Doug Ford has vowed to get rid of the legislation, suggesting it has been a job killer.

    Bouma was not at the constituency office on Monday. So, Milos and others provided information to an office employee.

    Milos said she is especially concerned about the potential loss of personal emergency leave, a measure she says is vitally important to workers.

    “Workers shouldn’t have to go to a lot of trouble to get time off in an emergency,” she said, adding that the law helps part-time workers and others who are struggling with child care or providing care to a family member.

    Under existing legislation, employees are entitled to 10 sick days a year, two of them paid.

    The province also is being urged to follow through on a planned raise of the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

    The “Fight for $15 and fairness” is being supported by labour leaders, including Chris Buckley, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.

    “It’s not too late for Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet to do the right thing and help Ontario workers,” Buckley said in a statement.

    For more information about the campaign visit www.15andfairness.org.

    Read The Brantford Expositor full story


  • Bayshore Broadcasting: Protest About Minimum Wage in Alliston

    By Jill Young

    There are over 50 protests planned today across Ontario about Bill 148

    Over 50 protests are planned today province-wide about the minimum wage.

    It's about the potential scrapping of Bill 148 which would include a $15 minimum wage by January of next year.

    The bill was introduced by the previous Liberal government, and even before he was elected,  Premier Doug Ford voiced his opposition to it.

    A rally is being held this afternoon at 4:15 at the office of Simcoe Grey MPP Jim Wilson in Alliston.

    Wilson is also Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade.

    Read the Bayshore Broadcasting full story


  • Muskoka Region: Fight for $15 and Fairness comes to Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP’s office

    By Alison Brownlee

    MUSKOKA — Demonstrators clutched their signs and stood in front of Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller’s office in Bracebridge despite rain on Monday.

    Diana McConnell, organizer of Parry Sound-Muskoka Decent Work in support of Fight for $15 and Fairness, said the demonstrators wanted to build momentum in the region for a $15 minimum wage and better laws to protect workers, despite the PC government’s plans to repeal Bill 148.

    The bill, brought into law by the previous provincial government, would have raised the minimum wage to $15 by January 2019, while also providing personal emergency days for workers, more financial fairness for part-time, temporary, casual and contract workers, additional health and safety oversight, and more.

    “It’s important here in Muskoka and Parry Sound,” said McConnell. “We want to keep Bill 148. It’s the law.”

    Demonstrators argued anyone working full-time should have access to a living wage, while noting low wages often disproportionately affected women, many of whom fill minimum wage roles, especially in the service industry.

    Petitions that called on the provincial government to honour and enforce Bill 148, “to ensure no worker is left without protection,” were available at The Hub, 1 Crescent Rd., Huntsville, and YWCA Muskoka, 440 Ecclestone Dr., Bracebridge.

    Find Parry Sound-Muskoka Decent Work on Facebook for more information.

    Read the Muskoka Region full story


  • published CTV London: Fighting for Bill 148 in Media 2018-10-19 13:23:14 -0400

    CTV London: Fighting for Bill 148

    Organized labour rallies around the bill that would see minimum wage increase to 15 dollars per hour. Brent Lale reports.

    CTV London: Day of Action October 15

    Watch the CTV London full story


  • CTV News Ottawa: Protestors want $15 an hour minimum wage

    By Michael O'Byrne

    Worker call for return to Ont. Government plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, CTV's Michael O'Byrne reports.

    CTV News Ottawa Day of Action

    Watch the CTV News Ottawa full story


  • CTV News: Labour protests against minimum wage change

    By Janice Goldin

    Watch CTV News full story

    The new provincial government's changes are not sitting well with everyone. 

    Watch the CTV News full story


  • ICI: Des manifestants demandent le retour du salaire horaire minimum à 15 $

    Plusieurs manifestants, qui ont organisé des rassemblements un peu partout en Ontario, ont demandé lundi au premier ministre de la province de revenir sur sa décision et de maintenir la hausse du salaire minimum qui devait avoir lieu le premier janvier prochain.

    Le groupe Fight for $15 and Fairness (battons-nous pour 15 $ et pour l'égalité), qui est l'oeuvre de la Fédération du travail de l'Ontario, est derrière l'événement panprovincial.

    Les manifestants exigent que le gouvernement progressiste-conservateur au pouvoir garde en place la loi 148, approuvée par les libéraux en novembre 2017. Celle-ci, baptisée la loi pour l'équité en milieu de travail et de meilleurs emplois, prévoyait une augmentation du salaire minimum à 15 $ l'heure en janvier 2019, en plus d'ajouter de meilleures conditions pour les travailleurs, comme davantage de journées de maladie payées, une sécurité d'emploi et des horaires stables.

    Arrivé au pouvoir, Doug Ford a décidé de faire marche arrière et de ne pas augmenter le salaire minimum. Il restera donc à 14 $ l'heure jusqu'à nouvel ordre. Le premier ministre désire aussi abolir complètement la loi, qui fait perdre beaucoup d'argent aux petites entreprises selon lui.

    La militante Roxanne Dubois souhaite que le salaire minimum en Ontario soit de 15$ de l'heure.
    La militante Roxanne Dubois souhaite que le salaire minimum en Ontario soit de 15 $ l'heure. Photo : Radio-Canada

     

    Le président de la Fédération du travail de l'Ontario, Chris Buckley doit rencontrer lundi la ministre ontarienne du Travail, Laurie Scott et le ministre ontarien du Commerce, Jim Wilson pour discuter des enjeux reliés aux conditions des travailleurs en Ontario. Le ministre du Commerce dit qu'il analyse présentement différentes options. Jim Wilson ajoute que certaines portions de la loi pourraient demeurer en place, alors que d'autres seront abolies.

    « Nous sommes en train de la réviser et nous en aurons plus long à dire plus tard » précise M. Wilson.

    La Fédération du travail de l'Ontario promet plusieurs autres manifestations en Ontario au cours des prochaines semaines.

    Read the ICI full story


  • Black Burn News: Union holds Day of Action to remember ‘historic’ college strike

    By Angelica Haggert

    It’s been one year since the province-wide college faculty strike left students and professors out of the classroom for more than a month.

    To commemorate the day, front-line college workers across Ontario are participating in a “Day of Action”.

    They’re also fighting for the recently cancelled $15/hr minimum wage increase.

    “Equal pay for equal work is the law,” said OPSEU President Warren Thomas. “It needs to stay that way.”

    There will be events at all college campuses, ranging from information tables to picket lines. According to an OPSEU release, some college campuses were trying to suppress Day of Action events.

    “I am deeply concerned,” said OPSEU College Faculty Division Chair RM Kennedy in response. “Post-secondary institutions are important sites for inquiry and debate on matters of public concern.”

    Thomas said despite the mess left by the strike, it wasn’t all bad.

    “It was a historic strike in the sense that we made major gains on academic freedom, on precarious work,” said Thomas. “Even though it was a nasty five-week strike, there was still some good to come out of the bad.”

    Thomas said the union has added the “Fight for $15” into their Day of Action because of Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s first 100 days in office. On his first day, Ford cancelled the College Task Force, ending the joint system review.

    Thomas said Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs movement has already improved the lives of college system workers. He called cancelling the task force and the $15 an hour minimum wage “stupid.”

    “It’s pure vengefulness, short-sighted,” said Thomas. “Either that or he doesn’t care what anyone thinks.”

    The strike, which saw college faculty walk off the job on October 16, 2017, was focused on academic freedom and a more fair split between full time and part-time faculty.

    Read the Black Burn news full story


  • Toronto Star: Protesters urge Ford to keep worker protections, minimum wage bump in place

    By Sarah Mojtehedzadeh

    Protesters rallied across the province Monday urging Premier Doug Ford not to scrap new worker protections after he pledged earlier this month to repeal the law giving Ontarians two paid sick days, equal pay for equal work and a minimum wage bump.

    In Toronto, at least 200 protesters gathered outside the Ministry of Labour in support of a $15 minimum wage, currently scheduled to come into effect in January. Ford has pledged to freeze it at $14 and scrap the rest of Bill 148, which was enacted late last year to tackle the rise of precarious work.

    “I have the same bills as most families and I’m struggling to pay them,” said Christine, who addressed Monday’s rally and is only being identified by her first name for fear of reprisal at one of her four minimum-wage employers.

    “We’ve been prisoners in our homes because, aside from work, we can’t afford to go anywhere. Who lives like that?”

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called for a “full repeal” of the new legislation, which it says has “created a number of compounding changes that created greater administrative and financial pressure on employers.”

    At Queen’s Park Monday, Ford said the minimum wage hike from $11.60 to $14, which took place earlier this year, increased payroll costs by 22 per cent — and that a further bump to $15 in January would increase them by 32 per cent.

    “I’m guessing already 60,000 people have already lost their jobs,” he said.

    On a year-over-year basis, employment increased by 1.1 per cent, or 79,000 jobs, in Ontario in August, according to Statistics Canada.

    In addition to increasing the province’s minimum wage, Bill 148 provided two paid, job-protected emergency leave days for all workers, increased holiday entitlement, mandated equal pay for casual and part-time workers doing the same job as full-time employees, enshrined, improved scheduling protections and boosted protections for temp agency workers.

    The legislation represents the most sweeping change to the province’s labour laws in decades, and was implemented after two years of research and public consultation conducted by two independent labour experts. About one-third of Ontario’s workforce are vulnerable workers in low-wage, precarious employment, according to the final 400-page report written by the two experts about proposed labour reforms.

    “It’s not realistic. We’re going to create good-paying jobs. We’re going to make sure that the part-time person gets treated very well,” Ford said in response to questions in the legislature from New Democrat MPP Sara Singh (Brampton Centre).

    “But you have to keep in mind the person that’s been working there 15 years. You can’t treat a part-timer the same way.”

    Monday’s rally was spearheaded by unions, worker advocates, and the Fight for $15 movement, which has successfully fought for a higher minimum wage and other protections for precarious workers in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and New York.

    “We are not willing to turn the clock back to 40 years ago” said Deena Ladd of the Toronto-based Workers’ Action Centre. “This is not asking too much. These are basic rights.”

    United Steelworkers Union International vice-president Carol Landry told the crowd outside the Ministry of Labour she could “not believe in 2018 these are the choices we are giving working families.”

    “Our message is, Premier Ford, do the right thing.”

    Gilleen Pearce, who owns a Toronto-based dog walking service, said she attended the rally because the “Chamber of Commerce does not speak for everyone.”

    “The narrative about business has 100 per cent been hijacked by right-leaning, anti-worker voices,” said Pearce, who is also the spokesperson for the Better Way Alliance — a group of Ontario employers that supports Bill 148.

    “I don’t want workers to feel all business owners are against them.”

    At another action orchestrated by Toronto teachers, Roopa Cheema said she was worried about the potential impact on her students if the bill is scrapped.

    “This minimum wage issue is an education issue because our students’ living conditions are their learning conditions,” she said, adding many of her high school students from low-income households are working to pay their families’ bills.

    “They are coming to school hungry and exhausted and stressed and anxious,” she said. “These are not high school students saving to go to university. They’re working to keep the lights on.”

    Read the Toronto Star full story


  • CBC News: Not everybody can afford to leave the GTA as cost of living soars, advocates say

    By Muriel Draaisma

    For Christine, the high cost of living in the Greater Toronto Area means juggling four part-time jobs. It means one long bus ride after another, borrowing money from her parents when she doesn't have enough and living in a cramped basement apartment in Richmond Hill, Ont.

    Christine, 45, a single woman whose last name is being withheld to protect her employment, says a minimum wage increase to $14 in January 2018 improved her life, but still her day is long.

    She gets up at 8 a.m., leaves at 8:30 a.m., spends about an hour and 15 minutes on a bus to get to work, often works two jobs a day, then returns home sometimes after 11 p.m. There are no luxuries.

    "Honestly, nothing can get cut because I'm down to bare bones. I don't have TV or anything like that," she told CBC Radio's Metro Morning. "I don't have any entertainment."

    Christine is not alone. Labour organizers say not everybody can afford to leave the GTA for a more affordable life.

    The high cost of living, especially soaring rent, means being priced out of certain neighbourhoods, areas of the city and even the city itself. Effectively, it also means minimum wage workers are priced in, as in stuck in the GTA with limited choices.

    Organizers say a planned increase in the minimum wage to $15, put on hold by the provincial government, would help low-income workers, but they know getting the hike with Doug Ford in power will now be a fight. The previous Liberal government planned to increase the minimum wage to $15 on Jan. 1.

    'Completely limited' choices

    Deena Ladd, a co-ordinator with the Workers' Action Centre, a worker-based organization in Toronto that works to improve the lives of people who earn low wages and have unstable employment, told Metro Morning that the high cost of living means low-income people have to live on the outer edges of Toronto's inner suburbs, such as Etobicoke or Scarborough, and sometimes even further. 

    Transportation costs are "huge" and a commute to work can be one to two hours and lots of time on public transit. People are living in housing that is "not great" and in "disrepair," she said.

    They often have to share one-bedroom apartments with other people, live in units that have bed bugs or cockroaches, or where windows don't open, and where they are constantly thinking about safety, Ladd added. 

    "Not only do you have to deal with the stress of making low wages and trying to make ends meet, but also you are also constantly dealing with looking for housing, looking for better housing or dealing with the appalling conditions that come with that housing," she said.

    It's hard to find a one-bedroom apartment in Toronto for less under $1,000, Ladd added. "I think the question should be: Is it reasonable to charge the kinds of rates that we are seeing in the city?" she said.

    Ladd said the high cost of living, combined with the lack of affordable housing, also means minimum wage workers have "completely limited" choices.

    "You have to take what you can get," she said. "If it means moving to Pickering, or if it means living in a rooming house, you have to do what you have to do."

    Ladd noted the government has not yet introduced legislation to freeze the minimum wage at $14.

    "We're hoping that they will listen to the people and will actually understand the significant contribution that happens to people's lives when they have more money in their pockets," she said.

    "Businesses thrive, but also, they can actually start to pay for better housing, some fundamentals, again not luxuries, but basic necessities."

    Province to 'pause' minimum wage hike

    Last week, Labour Minister Laurie Scott told reporters that the provincial government is going to "pause" the minimum wage hike at $14.

    Business groups have lobbied the province saying the most recent increase prompted them to raise prices and cut staff hours. The minimum wage increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1.

    "The increase of 20 per cent this year was a lot for businesses to absorb, so we're putting a pause on the minimum wage at $14 an hour," Scott told reporters at Queen's Park.

    She said the decision was made to give businesses the "chance to catch up" and added that the government was also helping low-income people with tax breaks and decreases in hydro and gas prices.

    Scott said the province is committed to keeping the minimum wage at $14 but also that recent job losses can be partly attributed to a "rapid" increase in the minimum wage.

    She added that the province is committed to cutting red tape, regulation and taxes to stimulate the economy and is reviewing labour reforms, namely changes to employment standards, brought in by the Liberals. She said the government will make a decision this fall on whether to repeal the reforms.

    "Our goal is to have good paying jobs in the province of Ontario."

    Read the CBC News full story


  • BNN Bloomberg: Doug Ford vows to scrap labour reform Bill 148

    By Amanda Lang

    TORONTO -- Ontario Premier Doug Ford vowed Tuesday to scrap labour reform legislation from the previous Liberal regime that raised the province's minimum wage and introduced a range of other worker protections, a declaration that came days after his government said the law was under review.

    Ford's comments caught the opposition off guard and upset those in the labour community who have been supporters of the law known as Bill 148.

    "We're getting rid of Bill 148," the premier said in the legislature. "We're going to make sure we're competitive around the world."

    The Progressive Conservatives said last week that they would halt a planned increase to minimum wage set to kick in next year as a result of the Liberal law, and the labour minister said the rest of the legislation was being reviewed.

    The bill mandates equal pay for part-time and temporary workers doing the same job as full-time employees and increases vacation entitlements to three weeks after a worker has been with their company for five years.

    It also requires employees to be paid for three hours if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its start, and expands personal emergency leave to 10 days per year, two of them paid.

    When brought in, the law was applauded by labour activists who had been calling on the government to increase the minimum wage for years. Some businesses, however, complained about the hike in minimum wage -- from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1 -- and raised prices, cut staff hours and reduced employee benefits in response.

    When asked to clarify his comments about the bill, Ford doubled down on his remarks Tuesday afternoon.

    "I don't think this is any surprise," he said. "I talked about this all throughout the campaign. I went from town to town talking about Bill 148."

    Ford said the bill has hurt Ontario businesses and meant workers lost their jobs. He wouldn't say if the government planned a full repeal of the bill or changes to part of it, adding that more information would be available in the coming weeks.

    "Bottom line, it's an absolute job-killer," he said of the bill. "We want to create more jobs for everyone right across the sector."

    NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it's not clear, despite Ford's latest comments, just what the government plans to do with the labour reform law. Repealing the legislation will only make life more unstable for workers across the province, she said.

    "At the end of the day, dragging us backwards to the days where people couldn't get three weeks vacation or they couldn't get sick time off when they were sick at work, these are things that we worry about," she said.

    Interim Liberal leader John Fraser said the premier's declaration hurts workers across the province.

    "It does a disservice to the office to not fully consider the direction you're going in," he said. "The premier's not doing that."

    Pam Frache, the Ontario co-ordinator of the Fight for $15 and Fairness, a group that supports the law, noted that the government has not yet introduced legislation to replace or repeal Bill 148, despite Ford's comments.

    "We still think there's time for the premier to change his mind, to do the right thing and to stand with the people, not with the corporate elites," she said.

    Meanwhile, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which represents the province's business community, said it would like the government to repeal Bill 148.

    "The very real unintended consequences (of Bill 148) have forced our members to decrease product offerings and increase the price of products being sold, hire fewer employees, reduce services and hours of operation, cut back on employee benefits, and halt capital investment -- all in an effort to stay afloat," president Rocco Rossi said in a statement.

    Last year the province's economic watchdog, the Financial Accountability Office, estimated more than 50,000 people could lose their jobs due to the minimum wage increase brought in by the Liberal bill.

    Read the BNN Bloomberg full story


  • CTV News: Government plans on ditching labour reform law

    By Colin D'Mello

    Premier Doug Ford says his government will “get rid” of Bill 148, the labour reform law that raised minimum wage and gave part-time and contract workers job security and protections.

    In a surprise statement during question period, Ford announced the repeal of the bill, claiming the issue was top of mind when he talked to “thousands and thousands of people” across the province.

    Minutes later, Economic Development Minister Jim Wilson clarified, saying the government is still “consulting” on Bill 148 while confirming that some parts “probably will go.”

    The premier was asked about the his decision again during an afternoon press conference, and would only say his government "will talk" about the specific plans. He would not confirm whether the decision had been finalized, but noted his intention to scrap the bill should come as "no surprise." 

    The bill, passed by the previous Liberal government last November, brought sweeping labour reforms. It included changes like mandating employees be paid three hours’ worth of wages if a shift was cancelled within 48 hours. The legislation also extended emergency medical leave to ten days, two of which are paid days,and enacted equal pay for equal work.

    The bill would also have raised the minimum wage to $15/hour in 2019, but Labour Minister Laurie Scott announced a “pause” last week, freezing wages at$14/hour.

    Ford said on Friday wages would likely rise “in two years” without giving any firm commitments on how much of a raise minimum wage employees would get.

    Pam Frache, with the group Fight for $15 & Fairness, called the government’s intent to scrap the bill “cruel and egregious.” She defended the emergency leave provision as being a “lifesaver” for families with young children.  

    “These are not perks for workers,” Frache told CTV News Toronto “These are basic tools to help people survive.”

    Frache stressed that “rolling back labour rights by decades” would affect millions of workers across the province. She is calling on the premier to “do the right thing.”

    Ford’s decision is in line with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which called for an “immediate repeal” of Bill 148 in September.

    “Bill 148 has led to a substantial decrease in staff hours and capital investment as well as an increased reliance on automation,” said a statement from Rocco Rossi, president of the OCC.

    Parts of the law came into effect in 2018 and other portions are scheduled to be implemented in 2019.

    Frache said while Ford’s statement was “disappointing,” it isn’t final.

    The government will have to enact new legislation that rewrites Ontario’s labour laws.

    Read the CTV News full story


  • Toronto Star: Ford vows Ontario government will get rid of Liberal labour reforms

    By Sarah Mojtehedzadeh, Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson

    Two paid sick days are too much.

    That was the message Tuesday from Premier Doug Ford, who is poised to dismantle the previous Liberal government’s labour reforms that increased sick day benefits and paid vacation, and were set to raise the minimum wage from $14 an hour to $15 on Jan. 1.

    “We’re getting rid of Bill 148,” Ford thundered in the legislature after being questioned by Liberal MPP Michael Coteau.

    The premier added that “60,000 people lost their jobs under Bill 148,” an apparent reference to part-time positions that have been cut.

    “When I criss-crossed this province, I talked to the peoplewho earn minimum wage, the ones who even were able to keep their job. I’d go into a little Home Hardware. Rather than having seven employees, they’d cut three employees because of Bill 148,” he said.

    “We’re going to create more jobs so we can hire more people, unlike the Liberals, who destroyed this province.”

    Later Tuesday, Ford said alarm over his remarks shouldn’t come as “any surprise” given his comments on the reforms during the spring election campaign, and he promised more details “over the next few weeks.”

    “Bottom line, it’s an absolute job killer,” he said.

    On a year-over-year basis, employment increased by 1.1 per cent, or 79,000 jobs, in Ontario in August, according to Statistics Canada. Total hours worked across the province also increased after much of Bill 148 took effect in January.

    To repeal the legislation, the government will need to introduce a replacement bill. Deena Ladd of the Toronto-based Workers’ Action Centre said she was “waiting for more than just a comment in question period to actually take the government seriously at this point.”

    “I think everyone is really kind of appalled that they would consider getting rid of basic labour legislation,” she said. “They’re just talking about it and I think they’re evaluating the response they’re getting from the people in the province.”

    The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, better known as Bill 148, provided two paid, job-protected emergency leave days for all workers, increased holiday entitlement, mandated equal pay for casual and part-time workers doing the same job as full-time employees, enshrined improved scheduling protections and boosted protections for temp agency workers.

    The legislation represents the most sweeping change to the province’s labour laws in decades, and was implemented after two years of research and public consultation conducted by two independent labour experts. About one-third of Ontario’s workforce are vulnerable workers in precarious employment, according to the final 400-page report written by the two experts about proposed labour reforms.

    The advisers also found that Ontario faced “serious” and extensive problems enforcing basic employment rights prior to Bill 148, leaving thousands of vulnerable workers open to abuse.

    Coteau was incredulous that Ford would effectively throw out the baby with the bathwater in his bid to cancel the minimum wage increase by getting rid of all the reforms in Bill 148.

    “I think it’s reasonable that workers be given fair notice for compensation when their employer cancels their shift,” said the Liberal MPP for Don Valley East, a former cabinet minister.

    “It allows employees to have some stability in their schedule if they’re going to school, to ensure they have adequate child care and if they’re working a second job.

    “Some 1.6 million Ontarians do not have sick days. In the legislation it guarantees two days to Ontarians. This is about decency for employees,” Coteau added.

    “Does the premier believe that two sick days is too much for people in Ontario? He says he stands up for the little guy. He says he stands up for the people of Ontario. Two sick days is decency.”

    At a news conference last week in support of the $15 minimum wage, currently scheduled to kick in on Jan. 1, Toronto-based emergency room physician Dr. Edward Xie said paid sick days were “not just an improvement to labour standards, but also a major public health advance.”

    At least 145 countries, including 23 jurisdictions in the United States, give workers the right to be compensated when they’re ill.

    NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said “it’s unfortunate we have a government now that’s going to drag us backwards likely to a place where people are not going to be able to get a fair shake at work.”

    “I’ve met guys who stop me literally on the street canvassing ... and say they’ve worked at the same employer for over 20 years and still only get two weeks vacation. Really? I mean, it’s time to make those changes,” Horwath said.

    Chris Buckley, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, said worker advocates had fought “long and hard” to make improvements to the province’s “severely outdated” labour and employment laws.

    “I caution the premier and today’s government not to eliminate Bill 148,” he said. “As a labour movement, we’re not going to sit idly by.”

    But Rocco Rossi, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, praised Ford.

    “We have been persistently urging the government to take immediate action and repeal Bill 148 due to the compounding labour reforms which come at too high a cost to the economy and workers,” he said.

    “The very real unintended consequences have forced our members to decrease product offerings and increase the price of products being sold, hire fewer employees, reduce services and hours of operation, cut back on employee benefits and halt capital investment — all in an effort to stay afloat.”

    Read the Toronto Star full story


  • CBC Listen: Toronto teacher rallies for raising the minimum wage

    By Gill Deacon

    Yesterday, Doug Ford said the government will scrap legislation that, among other things, would raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars. The move has been criticized by a number of people... including, now, teachers. A number of teachers and support staff are holding a rally tomorrow to draw attention to the repercussions that scrapping the minimum wage hike could have on students and their families. Melanie Wilson is a high school teacher with the TDSB who's participating in tomorrow's rally.

    Listen to the CBC full Story


  • published All OUT on Monday, how will you participate? in Media 2018-10-12 13:29:47 -0400

    All OUT on Monday, how will you participate?

    Largest. Coordinated. Day of action. In a decade. In support of workers' rights in Ontario.
    That's what we are getting ready to organize on Monday, October 15.

    Click to find an October 15 event near you!
    or scroll below

    On Monday, we will be mobilizing in all corners of Ontario to defend the new workplace laws we won last year, including the $15 minimum wage that is scheduled for January 1. This Day of Action is crucial to convince the Doug Ford Government to put our need for decent work ahead of corporate interests.

    All OUT for October 15
    WATCH & SHARE THE PROMO VIDEO FOR OCTOBER 15
    Click to share on Facebook -  Click to share on Twitter

    We are expecting over 50 events to take place on the October 15 Day of Action that we are organizing together with the Ontario Federation of Labour. That means doubling the 20+ actions we held on September 15, when we collectively pulled off the largest provincial day of mobilization since the Ontario election in June. Clearly, the momentum is with the 66% of Ontarians who want and support $15 & Fairness.

    Will you join us on October 15?

    Right now Big Business lobbyists are using every trick in the book to pressure the government into fully repealing our new labour laws. Let's not forget, when the Chamber of Commerce campaigns against Bill 148, they are literally campaigning to make it easier for employers to fire workers whose childcare has fallen through, who decline a last-minute shift, or who stay home sick when they have the flu (click here to read more about what's at stake).

    We cannot let the corporate pressure roll back the most basic protections we won through grassroots organizing. Hands off job-protected emergency leave, paid sick days, equal pay for equal work! Despite chatter, the government hasn't moved yet to cancel the new labour laws, which means $15 is less than 12 weeks away.

    Please join us on Monday by speaking out for $15 & Fairness. In addition to the events listed below, actions will also be happening in 24 Ontario Colleges.

    If you can't come in person, please take action online! Send an email to Premier Doug Ford and your local MPP by clicking here and ask your friends to do the same! Please use the hashtag #15andFairness to spread the word about the Day of Action on social media, and show your support!

    AJAX

    MPP Rod Phillips’ Office
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM -- 1 Rossland Road W, Suite 209
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    ALLISTON

    MPP Jim Wilson’s Office
    4:15 PM to 6:15 PM -- 180 Parsons Rd, Unit 28
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    AURORA

    Outreach Blitz
    2:30 PM to 4:00 PM -- 15900 Bayview Avenue
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    BRAMPTON

    Outreach Blitz
    5:00 PM to 6:30 PM --  Brampton City Hall, 2 Wellington Street
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    BRANTFORD

    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)
    Please share on Facebook

    COBOURG

    MPP David Piccini’s Office
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM --  513 Division Street
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    ETOBICOKE

    Outreach Blitz
    12:00 PM to 2:00 PM -- Corner of Dixon and Islington
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    GUELPH

    Outreach Blitz
    9:00 AM to 4:00 PM -- University Centre and Guelph City Hall
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    HAMILTON

    Mohawk College
    12:00 Noon to 1:00 pm -- Fennel Campus (135 Fennel Avenue West)
    Share on Facebook

    Rally
    6:00 PM to 7:30 PM -- Jackson Square (James North and King Street)
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    KINGSTON

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

    St. Lawrence College
    1:00 PM to 2:00 PM -- Main entrance, transit stop

    Cataraqui Town Centre
    4:00 PM to 5:00 PM -- South Entrance facing Kingston Frontenac library

    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    LONDON

    Fanshawe College
    10 AM to 3 PM -- F Building at Fanshawe College
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Chamber of Commerce Action
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM -- London Chamber of Commerce, 244 Pall Mall St
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    MISSISSAUGA

    Outreach Blitz
    11:00 AM to 1:00 PM -- Westwood Mall, 7205 Goreway Drive (bus shelter)
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Outreach Blitz
    5:00 PM to 7:00 PM -- Mississauga Celebration Square, 300 City Centre Dr
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    NEWMARKET

    Action Against Corporate Bullies
    6:00 PM to 7:00 PM -- Real Canadian Superstore, 18120 Yonge St
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    NORTH BAY

    15 Workplace Actions
    9:00 AM to 9:00 PM -- Across the city
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    OAKVILLE

    Banner Drop
    4:30 PM to 6:00 PM -- Trafalgar Road exit - South-West QEW off-Ramp
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    OTTAWA

    Outreach Blitz
    4:00 PM to 6:00 PM -- in front of Loblaws, 363 Rideau St (corner of Nelson St)
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    PETERBOROUGH

    Outreach Blitz
    4:30 PM to 6:00 PM -- South East corner of George St North & Simcoe St
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    SCARBOROUGH

    Centennial College, Progress Campus
    9:00 AM to 12:00 PM -- Progress Campus, the Bridge
    Share on Facebook

    Scarborough Centre
    10:30 AM to 12:00 PM -- Intersection of Warden Ave and Lawrence Ave East
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Scarborough Agincourt
    12:30 PM to 2:00 PM --  Sheppard Ave East and Kennedy Road Intersection
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Scarborough Rouge Park
    2:30 PM to 4:00 PM -- Morningside Avenue and Milner Avenue Intersection
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    ST. CATHARINES

    Rally
    12:00 PM to 2:00 PM -- Outside the Ministry of Transportation, 289 St Paul St
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    TORONTO

    Morning Outreach Blitz
    7:30 AM to 8:45 AM -- Dufferin & Sherbourne TTC stations as well as Parkdale
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    York University Outreach Blitz
    11:00 AM to 12:30 PM -- Vari Hall, York University at 198 York Blvd
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    University of Toronto Outreach Blitz  
    11:00 AM to 12:15 PM -- Sid Smith (East Side)
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Rally outside Ministry of Labour
    12:30 PM to 1:30 PM - 400 University Ave
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Educators at Lawrence West
    3:15 PM to 5:00 PM -- Lawrence West Subway Station
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook

    Educators at Parkdale
    4:00 PM to 5:00 PM -- Corner of Lansdowne and Seaforth
    Please RSVP 

    WATERLOO

    MPP Mike Harris’ Office
    3:00 PM to 5:00 PM -- 63 Arthur St South Unit 3&4
    Please RSVP or share on Facebook


  • published Race against the clock, we need YOU in Media 2018-10-12 12:18:03 -0400

    Race against the clock, we need YOU

    Workers in every corner of Ontario are getting ready for the October 15 - Provincial Day of Action next Monday. Will you join us?

    From teachers speaking out about the impact of poverty wages on students who come to school exhausted or hungry, to doctors advocating for good jobs as a public health solution - support for $15 & Fairness is growing. Even Ford voters are speaking out in support of the fight for $15 and fairness.

    Evidence is in

    The jobs data released by Statistics Canada on Friday makes our case even clearer: when workers have money in their pockets, they spend it, creating more business and more jobs.

    Contrary to the lies spread by the Chamber of Commerce and their Big Business backers, employment is up and wages are improving in OntarioThis is true even in the Food Services and Accommodation sector where the proportion of minimum wage employment is highest and therefore most likely to be impacted by a higher minimum wage.

    As David Bush explains in this must-read analysis: The data show "wage growth in the lowest wage sector in Ontario doubled the national average over the last 12 months... This is the exact opposite of what the business lobby is claiming is happening. The trend line is showing that the $15 minimum wage, far from having an adverse impact on jobs and hours for workers in the low-wage sector, is benefiting workers."

    Join us on October 15 - Day of Action

    With both the evidence and the public support on our side, we need to double-down our efforts to make sure that the Ontario government stands with the people against the corporate lobby groups. Right now, we are only 12 weeks away from the $15 minimum wage increase and fairer scheduling rules that are coming into effect on January 1, 2019. The government has not yet moved to roll back our gains, despite the public musings last week. 

    Spread the word, only 12 weeks away
    Click here to share on Facebook -- Click here to share on Twitter

    This is why our October 15 Day of Action is more crucial than ever (sign up now for to join an event near you). Across the province, we have street, campus, workplace and online actions already planned, but we need your help to mobilize as many other people as we can. Click here to see announced events for October 15.

    Constituency week - drop by your local MPP office

    As we get ready for October 15, if you have 15 minutes to spare this week help us send a strong message to your local representative. This week is constituency week - where Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs) are in their home ridings (find the address of your MPP here).

    The constituency week is an excellent time to drop by your local MPP office and let them know you support the $15 minimum wage, fairer scheduling, job-protected emergency leave, paid sick days, equal pay, and all the other improvements contained in Bill 148 that the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is campaigning to eliminate (read our 1-page backgrounder to learn more).

    What else can you do to take action:

    Let's remember, every day without legislation or regulation rolling back our rights is a victory for our side. But we are in a race against the clock to let our friends, neighbours and co-workers know that our new workplace rights are in grave danger.

    • Email your MPP, click here. Then mobilize your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.
    • Order a window / lawn sign or a banner to display on your campus, in your workplace or neighbourhood (click here).
    • Help us financially - we urgently need financial resources to fund this phase of the campaign (click here to donate). No amount is too small - or too large! 

    With your energy and commitment, there's every reason to believe we can convince the government to stand with the people, not with the corporate elites. But they need to hear from us, the 66% majority who support $15 and Fairness.

    Let's make it happen.