• published Leaflet: Keep Fighting for $15 & Fairness in Resources 2018-10-05 14:59:13 -0400

  • CBC: Don't scrap $15 minimum wage hike, advocacy groups urge Doug Ford

    Community, labour groups say 'pause' in minimum wage hike will affect nearly 2M workers

    Community and labour groups are urging Ontario Premier Doug Ford not to scrap the planned hike in the minimum wage to $15.

    The so-called Fight For $15 & Fairness movement says the increase from the current $14 an hour would have affected nearly two million workers in the province.

    Labour Minister Laurie Scott confirmed on Wednesday the Ford government will not go ahead with an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour scheduled for Jan. 1. Instead, the minimum wage will stay at $14 an hour, and Scott did not give a timetable for any future increases. 

    The minimum wage increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour on January 1st, drawing complaints from businesses and prompting some to raise prices and cut staff hours and benefits.

    Critics have said the government's decision to stall the wage hike will hurt the very people it claims to champion.

    Read the CBC full story

  • published Don't let Doug Ford buckle under corporate pressure in Media 2018-10-02 17:12:13 -0400

    Don't let Doug Ford buckle under corporate pressure

    During question period today, Premier Doug Ford signaled his intent to cave in to the Big Business lobby by rolling back our new workplace rights.

    Let's remind the premier that it takes more than a comment in Question Period to undo our fairer employment laws.

    As it stands, THE LAW still says we are less than 13 weeks away from our $15 minimum wage and fairer scheduling rules – rules that would  protect workers if they say no to a last-minute shift that conflicts, say, with a child’s birthday celebration.

    Help us spread the word that our $15 minimum wage is still coming.

    13 weeks to $15 minimum wage
    Click here to share on Facebook - Click here to share on Twitter

    This musing from Premier Ford must not be allowed to pass without a response. We need to let him know the whole province is watching. Will he be FOR THE PEOPLE or FOR THE CORPORATE ELITES?

    What you can do right now:

    • Call the premier - dial 416-325-1941 to leave a message. Let's raise our voices from across Ontario.
    • Email your MPP, click here. Then mobilize your friends, family and co-workers to do the same.
    • Sign up for an October 15 Day of Action event in your community - click here to get updates.
    • Order a window / lawn sign or a banner to display on your campus, in your workplace or neighbourhood (click here).
    • Help us get the truth out over social media, by sharing the evidence below:

    Don't believe the lies coming from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, that decent wages hurt the economy.


    The Statistics Canada data show that the total number of hours worked by workers across Ontario grew fastest AFTER the minimum wage rose to $14 and in the Food Services and Accommodation sector – the sector with the highest concentration of minimum wage employment -- average hours of work grew even faster, increasing by 13% between January and August. Wages in that sector also grew at by an impressive 10% - faster than the rest of Ontario (click here to download shareable)

  • The law still says $15 is coming Jan 1, but we need to act now!

    Contrary to recent media headlines, the law still says a $15 minimum wage and fairer scheduling rules are coming on January 1, 2019. As it stands, more than 1.7 million workers are set to receive their wage increase in less than 14 weeks. This is why we took this important message straight to Queen's Park today, to set the record straight!

    Click here to check out photos from the press conference
    Click here to watch the live streem

    The confusion about the future of Ontario's minimum wage stems from Labour Minister Laurie Scott signalling her intent to side with the Big Business lobby that wants to cancel our $15 minimum wage and our other new workplace laws. Unless backed by legislative action, these kinds of statements can be understood as "trial balloons". Governments release statements to gauge the public's response to an initiative. How the public responds helps the government decide whether to proceed, pull back, -- or go even further. That's why what we do now really matters.


    We must let every government MPP know, we expect them to put our need for decent work ahead of corporate interests. Here is what you can do: 

    1. Email Doug Ford today. Each and everyone of us need to speak out right now! Please send an email today (click here). If you are a member of a community group, union, or student organization with access to an email list, please ask your organization to circulate this call to action. 

    2. Get ready for an emergency action. If the government does go forward with legislation (or regulation) that attacks our new workplace laws, we need to respond no later than the following day. For Toronto, this means heading over to the Ministry of Labour (400 University Ave) at 5:00 pm the day after they table legislation (or regulation) rolling back our rights. For other actions and other cities, check our website (click here) or Facebook page (click here) to see where you can connect.

    3. Help fund our fight. We urgently need financial resources to organize and extend our fight. Big Business has lots of money to donate to political parties, buy advertising, and influence media. But this campaign relies on all of us donating our time and money to this fight. Whether its copying flyers and posters or providing buttons and banners, we are counting on you to help us. Click here to make a contribution right now. We promise we will make good use of every single penny we receive. 

    Please don't forget: if the government felt confident about cancelling our wage increase and rolling back our labour laws,  Premier Ford would be front and centre of a major news conference.

    But they are NOT confident. They know, as do we, that over 66% of the Ontarians support a $15 minimum wage, including 62% of small business owners and nearly half of Conservative voters. 

    So please join us as we continue the countdown to $15, and help spread this message far and wide.

    14 weeks left to $15Share the graphic: Click here for Facebook -  Click here for Twitter

    Millions of workers are counting on a $15 minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, paid sick days and so much more. Let's double-down on organizing to make sure these rights are protected, enforced, and arrive on time.

  • Media Release: “Premier Ford: Stand with Us. Don’t let big business take away our $15 minimum wage!”

    TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2018 -- Constituents in more than 20 Ontario ridings called on their local Conservative MPPs today to oppose calls from Big Business to scrap the $15 minimum wage.

    Almost two million workers are counting on the $15 minimum wage which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2019. Public opinion surveys show that 66% of Ontarians support a $15 minimum wage and many believe it should be even higher. A similar percentage of small business owners – 62% – also believe the minimum wage should be at least $15 an hour.

    Despite this fact, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called on Premier Doug Ford to fully repeal the legislation that made Ontario the first jurisdiction in Canada to provide two paid sick days to all workers, unpaid emergency leave, in addition to fairer scheduling laws and a $15 minimum wage taking effect January 1, 2019.

    Christine Ilott, who lives in York Region, wants her MPP to do the right thing: “Working for minimum wage is a struggle. I’m a college graduate. I'm in my mid-40s. I live alone. I have the same bills most families do, and I struggle to pay them. That's with four jobs across the GTA. All my jobs are minimum wage. Last year I earned in the vicinity of $22,000. You can’t live in Toronto on that. You can’t live anywhere in Ontario on that. You just can't. I'd like to say that's after taxes, but the truth is I don't earn enough to pay taxes. Two-thirds of minimum wage earners don't.”

    Jared Hunt, an education worker in North Bay, says he was shocked to hear the Ontario Chamber of Commerce wants the government to take away paid sick days and eliminate the minimum wage increase. “I thought the Chamber represented community interests, but now it seems they are simply parroting the big corporations that make millions of profit while paying sub-poverty wages,” he said. “Taking away the new workplace rights will harm our communities. It will affect parents and children – the kids who sit in our classroom – they will suffer the consequences of rolling back labour laws.”

    Navneet Aujla, lives in Brampton, and was part of the delegation that visited MPPs Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria and Amarjot Sandhu. She says repealing Bill 148 would mean reversing new regulations for temp agencies. “That would be a disaster for workers in our community. We already have an incredibly high concentration of temp agencies in Brampton and for many workers these agencies are the main source of employment. The equal pay provisions of the new legislation – where temp agency workers have to be paid the same as their directly-hired co-workers – have made a huge difference in workers’ lives. Not only are these workers now making more money, many have been offered permanent jobs because the financial incentives for employers to keep people temporarily have been eliminated.”

    Pam Frache is the Ontario Coordinator of the Fight for $15 and Fairness. She says the response today has been tremendous. “People are really excited about the $15 minimum wage and fair scheduling rules that are coming January 1,” she said. “That’s why so many of the actions today were celebrating the 15-week count-down.” But since the Ontario Chamber of Commerce publicly demanded the new government repeal our new legislation in full, there’s been a real sense of urgency. More people than ever have joined the campaign.

    Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley says union members have been part of the Fight for $15 and Fairness from the beginning, and many labour councils helped organize today’s actions. “Raising the floor of wages and working conditions is as good for the economy as it is for workers,” said Buckley. “That’s why the majority of Ontarians – including people who voted for Ford – expect the government to stand with workers; they don’t want the new government to cave in to pressure from corporate elites who clearly don’t have community interests at heart.”

    When workers have money in their pockets, they spend it, explains Frache. “They don’t collude to cheat workers in price-fixing schemes or put it into off-shore accounts to avoid taxes like Loblaws did. Most of us just want to earn a living that brings our head above water and offers a modest amount of security. That’s not too much to ask for.”

    Frache doesn’t think it’s a contradiction that supporters of the Fight for $15 and Fairness may have voted for Ford. “A good number of people voted for Doug Ford because they really believe he is going to stand up for us against corporate elites,” she said. “This is his chance to make good on that promise.”

    Christine Ilott has big plans for how she’s going to use the $15 minimum wage when it comes in on January 1. She wants to go see a movie and maybe even splurge on popcorn. She wants to visit the dentist and buy a warmer coat. “We simply must get to $15 in January. It’s not much. But it will go a long way to lifting millions of us out of poverty. It's the right thing to do – and it's time.”

    Rallies took place today in the following communities:

    Brampton (South)
    Brampton (West) 
    Etobicoke North
    St. Thomas
    North Bay
    Scarborough Centre
    Scarborough—Rouge Park
    Toronto (Eglinton-Lawrence)
    York Simcoe (Holland Landing)

    For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

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

    Rob Halpin
    Executive Director
    Ontario Federation of Labour l 416-707-1094

  • Wawa News: Cancelling minimum wage increase hurts workers

    By Jamie West

    During question period Monday, the NDP’s labour critic, Jamie West, said that by cancelling the minimum wage increase, Doug Ford is taking more than $2,000 a year out of the pocket of minimum wage earners.

    West said that with that kind of financial strain being inflicted on workers, it’s a shame that Doug Ford has been completely focused on his grudge-match against the City of Toronto during the September sitting of the legislature – including an all-night session in the early hours of Monday – and not the jobs and wages people need to build a better life.

    “We could be at Queen’s Park to take action on increasing the minimum wage or creating better conditions for all Ontario workers.  Instead, we are once again using our time and resources to debate a bill that violates Ontarians’ rights and freedoms,” said West, MPP for Sudbury.

    “Why is slashing Toronto city council a more important to this government than the wages and well-being of workers across the province? “

    Last week, Doug Ford’s minister of labour penned an op-ed boasting about her government’s plans to freeze the minimum wage at $14 an hour, cancelling the upcoming increase and ripping $2,000 a year out of the hands of the lowest-wage workers in the province.

    “Hard working Ontarians should not have to continue to struggle in poverty because of a wage that has not kept pace with the cost of living,” said West. “For Mr. Ford to cancel the promised minimum wage raise at all – and without a minute of debate or consultation – is wrong, and it’s dragging Ontario backwards.”

    Read the Wawa News Story

  • Hamilton News: Hands Off Hamilton rally kicks off opposition to Doug Ford's government, say activists

    By Kevin Werner

    If Premier Doug Ford can use the notwithstanding clause to push through his agenda, the labour movement will have in reserve its own general-strike strategy as a counter move, said Anthony Marco, president of the Hamilton and District Labour Council.

    “It took years to build up to the Days of Action, when people were prepared to do what they had to do,” he said. “(Ford) has to understand we have in our back pocket the general strike that we can shoot down the premier. We can shut this city down. We can shut this province down.”

    However, before Ontario’s labour movement can pull out what Marco called an extreme tool, the Sept. 15 Hands Off Hamilton rally at city hall demonstrated the first of what labour, poverty and environmental activists hope to be a growing community that will become the bulwark against the Progressive Conservative government’s agenda.

    More than 130 people attended the 90-minute rally, including various union representatives, Hamilton Acorn, the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network, anti-poverty activists and teachers as they fight the government’s policies.

    Speaker after speaker railed against cuts to mental health, changes to the sex-education curriculum, and the expected gutting of the former Liberal government's labour legislation that, among other things, extends sick days and raises the minimum wage to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019.

    Marco said later that the growing opposition to Ford’s government is different from any protest movement in the past. The rally, organized by the Hamilton and District Labour Council and the Ontario Federation of Labour, was part of a provincewide series of actions by labour activists.

    “This isn’t a specific thing we are targeting,” he said. “We are targeting somebody who is very symbolic of a lot of the ills that are going on.”

    Lee Reed of the Hamilton Tenants Solidarity Network, which is involved in a rent strike in Stoney Creek, said Ford is a “trumped-up Harris,” referring to former PC premier Mike Harris.

    The public can’t rely on politicians or governments anymore, he said, and must band together and organize for themselves.

    “It’s a capitalistic system that has left out the working class,” Reed said.

    Despite the turnout, the people who attended the event seemed motivated to build upon what Marco called a growing movement. He pointed out that next year is the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, which laid the foundation for future labour reforms in the country.

    “It would be great if we got 10,000 people out here. But if we got 10,000 people and nobody was prepared to mobilize, it wouldn’t do us any good. If we get 150 people and (they) were ready to mobilize and do something, that’s way more valuable,” he said.

    “If it takes a year or two to get there, people will eventually get there.”

    Read the Hamilton News Story

  • CTV News Barrie: Ontarians rally for $15 minimum wage

    Workers across the province rallied in support of $15 minimum wage. 

    CTV News Barrie Story

    Watch CTV News Barrie Story

  • Toronto Star: Ontarians rally in support of $15 minimum wage: ‘We cannot survive’

    By Sara Mojtehedzadeh

    Workers rallied in support of a $15 minimum wage, across Toronto and 15 other cities Saturday, as the Ontario government doubles down on its pledge to cancel what it’s calling a “crassly political” wage bump scheduled for January 2019.

    “We cannot survive below $15 an hour,” said valet driver Abdullahi Bare, 65, who attended one rally of about 50 people at Premier Doug Ford’s constituency office. Eight other rallies were scheduled to take place across the GTA.

    “We have to work two to three jobs. We cannot meet with our family. You come home to sleep only. It’s a very difficult life,” Bare said.

    The legislation introduced last year under Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne resulted in a $2.60 increase in the minimum wage to $14 an hour in 2018, and $15 by 2019, and also introduced sweeping labour reforms aimed at tackling precarious work.

    Premier Doug Ford has previously said he will freeze the minimum wage at $14 an hour. In an opinion piece for the Financial Post published Friday, Labour Minister Laurie Scott said her government would stick to that promise, describing the 20 per cent increase as “crassly political” and “the highest and fastest in our history.”

    “As minister of labour, I always favour higher wages. Incomes should never stagnate. There is a need for the minimum wage to increase as the cost of living goes up. Unfortunately, the previous Liberal government chose to put the burden of an abrupt and dramatic increase on the back of our small businesses,” Scott said.

    Increasing the minimum wage was outside the scope of the two-year review of provincial labour laws leading to The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, known as Bill 148, but numerous anti-poverty and worker advocates made submissions to the process supporting the move.

    A group of Canadian economists also endorsed the wage bump in an open letter to government that said it “makes good economic sense” and could generate “substantial benefit to low-wage workers, their families and the economy as a whole.”

    The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called on the new provincial government to repeal the entire bill, including 2019’s minimum wage hike, because it has created a “number of compounding changes that created greater administrative and financial pressure on employers.”

    Bill 148, the most significant reforms to the province’s labour laws in decades, also enacted 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, and boosted protections for temp agency workers.

    Earlier this month, a ministry spokesperson told the Star that Scott was “considering the recent changes made” in Bill 148 and “their impact on the overall economy.”

    Naiima Farah, who is running for city council in Ward 1, Etobicoke North, and has lived in the area since she was three years old, said the minimum-wage increase was a “start to breaking the cycle of inter generational poverty.”

    A study by the province’s economic watchdog, the Financial Accountability Office, also predicted about 50,000 people could lose their jobs due to the minimum wage increase. In her Friday op-ed, Scott said Ontario lost 59,300 part-time jobs immediately after the minimum wage “surged up” to $14 from $11.60.

    In July, the province’s jobless rate fell to 5.4 per cent, the lowest in 18 years. In August that figure increased to 5.7 per cent with a loss of 80,100 jobs, most of which were part time. Year over year, the unemployment rate is unchanged.

    A study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that a minimum-wage increase to $15 an hour would mean an extra $1,465 in the pockets of the working poor, as compared to Ford’s plan to freeze the rate at $14 and eliminate provincial income taxes on those making less than $30,000. The report found that two-thirds of the 4.9 million Ontarians making less than $30,000 already pay no income tax.

    In 2015, the Ontario Living Wage Network calculated Toronto’s living wage as being $18.52.

    Read the Toronto Star Story

  • North Bay Nugget: Campaign collects signatures for $15 minimum wage

    By Gord Young

    About a dozen people hit the streets in downtown North Bay Saturday to help garner support for the Fight for $15 and Fairness.

    The volunteers with the province-wide campaign were busy collecting signatures for a petition calling on Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government to proceed with a planned minimum wage increase promised by the previous Liberal regime.

    Today is big day. It marks the start of a 15-week countdown until January, when the minimum wage bumps up to $15,” said organizer Jared Hunt.

    He said Premier Doug Ford has signalled that he is not supportive of the wage hike for low-income earners and that the campaign is concerned the increase may be nixed.

    Because we’re worried about it, we’re talking with people about their rights,” said Hunt, noting the volunteers are not only speaking to people on the streets about the minimum wage increase, but other workplace changes that came under Bill 148 – the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act – which was passed last year.

    He said that includes fair scheduling, equal pay and paid vacations.

    Hunt said the campaign believes that there’s a lot of support in Ontario for the increase in minimum wage and other workplace enhancements. And he said the campaign aims to demonstrate that to the new government.

    We think that two third of Ontario actually want the increase,” said Hunt, noting Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s finance minister, will be asked to present the petition at Queen’s Park at the end of the month.

    If Fedeli refuses, he said another provincial member of Parliament from another party will be asked.

    Fedeli, in interview last month, didn’t say what direction the province will be taking when it comes to the planned minimum wage hike. But his comments were not supportive of the move.

    We heard loudly and clearly from businesses how many jobs would be lost in Ontario,” said Fedeli, referring to province-wide consultations last year on Bill 148. “And, we saw immediately – just as the Financial Accountability Office had predicted – we lost 50,000 jobs in January.”

    Fedeli noted how the premier has said Ontario is open for business again. And he said that means “lower taxes, lower hydro rates and less red tape.”

    A big part will be how we handle the fallout of Bill 148 and the amount of companies that have left Ontario and the amount of companies that have not hired,” he said.

    The minimum wage rose last year to $14, from $11.60 an hour. And many businesses have said another increase in January is too much too fast.

    But Hunt said the campaign believes that’s a position propped up by large corporations that have long been “building wealth on the backs of workers earning low wages.”

    For decades, people in Ontario have been living in low-wage economy,” he said, of the importance to that the planned wage hike in January proceed. “When we help the lowest earners we help everybody.”

    Read the North Bay Nugget Story

  • Quinte News: Locals rally to support $15 minimum wage increase

    By Brock Ormond

    A small, but mighty local group was part of a province-wide movement to prevent a delay of a minimum wage increase Saturday afternoon.

    About 30 people gathered for a rally in support of the “Fight for $15 and Fairness Campaign” in front of MPP Todd Smith’s office in Rossmore, organized by the Quinte Labour Council and the Kingston & District Labour Council.

    This rally was held to protest against the plan by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and big businesses to convince Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government to repeal Bill 148 (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act), freeze minimum wage at the current $14 an hour and cut taxes for minimum wage earners.

    The group’s intention with the rally was to give people the right to fair and equal wages for work across the board to keep up with the higher cost of modern living.

    The minimum wage is set to go up to $15 per hour as of January 1, 2019.

    This “Day of Action” event marks the 15-week period leading up to the $15 an hour pay rate.

    Quinte Labour Council President Margaret Bourgoine says she wants Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservative Government to stand up to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce “for the people” and help push the minimum wage increase forward. (Photo: Brock Ormond/Quinte News)

    President of the Quinte Labour Council Margaret Bourgoine says 66 percent of workers in Ontario are in favour of a minimum wage increase.

    She says she wants Doug Ford to live up to his campaign promise to be “for the people” and stand up to the business lobby to provide workers with their right to an honest wage.

    Lesley Jamieson of the Kingston Labour Council says it’s important to raise awareness in the community about the Fight for $15 and Fairness Campaign to give workers a fair wage to keep up with the cost of living. (Photo: Brock Ormond/Quinte News)

    Lesley Jamieson is a member of the Kingston & District Labour Council and a supporter of the Fight for $15 and Fairness Campaign.

    She says they want to send a strong message to the PC government to not bend to big businesses who are calling for the minimum wage freeze.

    Chris Snooks, Chief Steward of Local 00641 UNDE Kingston, says that he came out to the rally to support equality in the local workforce.

    For more information on the Fight for $15 and Fairness Campaign, go to their website.

  • in halton: Residents Rallying for Minimum Wage Increase in Halton

    By Christine Sharma

    An outstanding Liberal promise for minimum wage to rise to $15 is under pressure from multiple sides - from the newly elected PC government, to minimum wage workers, to businesses, and beyond.

    While the province’s PC government looks to cancel the next minimum wage increase, some residents, community groups, and labour councils are planning to fight back this weekend.

    A group called $15 & Fairness is organizing rallies across the province on Saturday September 15, 2018.

    This marks a 15-week countdown to Ontario’s next minimum wage increase to $15, which comes into effect on January 1, 2019.

    Over 20 provincial ridings will see local actions on Saurday.

    Those coming out to the rallies are “delivering a message to local MPPs asking them to stand with the people of Ontario against the attempt by corporate lobbyists to rollback Ontario's new labour laws,” according to recent statement from $15 & Fairness.

    Despite the fact that the overwhelming majority of Ontarians (66%) support a $15 minimum wage — including 62% of small business owners — Big Business is leading a campaign to cancel the $15 minimum wage and roll back the 2 paid sick days and other laws that came into effect this year.”

    Wages underwent a major hike in 2018, from $11.60 to $14 per hour. The increase set for 2019 is to be followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation.

    Here’s the rally is happening in Oakville:

    10 a.m.-12 p.m. — Oakville Farmers Market (240 North Service Road West)

    “Join us to talk to our neighbours about their rights, collect signatures on our petition and remind people to contact Oakville MPP Stephen Crawford and Oakville North Burlington MPP Effie Triantafilopoulos,” reads the statement.

    What do you think of the minimum wage hike in Halton?

    Read the in halton Story

  • published North Bay Nugget: Fight for $15 heats up Saturday in Media 2018-09-21 10:14:57 -0400

    North Bay Nugget: Fight for $15 heats up Saturday

    North Bay labour leaders will join their counterparts from more than 20 provincial ridings Saturday launching the 15-week countdown campaign to Ontario’s $15 minimum wage, due to come into effect Jan. 1.

    The Nipissing Decent Work committee will canvass for petition signatures from 2-4 pm at Main and Ferguson streets, followed by a neighbourhood barbecue at 5 pm.

    The committee is asking Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli to “stand with the people of Ontario against the attempt by corporate lobbyists to roll back Ontario’s new labour laws.”

    It claims “big business is leading a campaign to cancel the $15 minimum wage and roll back the two paid sick days, as well as other laws that came into effect this year.”

    It says the corporate campaign to repeal Bill 148, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, is being spearheaded by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

    Read the North Bay Nugget Story

  • Cobourg Now: Newly-Formed Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice

    By Valerie MacDonald

    The newly-formed Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice is supporting the upcoming Northumberland Labour Council rally at MPP David Piccini’s Cobourg constituency office this Saturday.

    The event focuses on the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s “roll back” request pertaining to the New Employment Standards Act (ESA),” Coalition spokesperson Derek Blackadder said in an interview Wednesday.

    “The House (of Commons) is being called back this week,” Blackadder said suggesting that the legislation could be dealt with quickly.

    The local labour council is joining other groups across the province bringing the message to Ontario MPPs not to change the Act (which addresses issues ranging from minimum wage to equity), Blackadder said.

    It is now expected that the Tories will go after not just the scheduled increase in the minimum wage but the other improvements that were made to the ESA last year (by the Liberal Government)…and that this will start when Queen’s Park reconvenes in order to attach a ‘notwithstanding’ preamble to Bill 5,” Blackadder stated in a wide-ranging invitation to the rally.

    The local rally is scheduled for noon Saturday, Sept. 15 at MPP Piccini’s office on Division Street in the same plaza as Papa John’s and across from the No Frills plaza. Asked if the MPP would attend the rally, Blackadder indicated he didn’t think that would be the case.

    Piccini did not respond to a request by the News Now Network about whether he would be there.

    Due to a conflict last summer, Piccini said at that time he could not attend another rally at his office organized by the Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty – but a meeting was held the following week. That rally’s focus was the Tory Government’s announcement that it was cancelling the “basic income” pilot program. Lindsay was the closest area where it was in place.

    It is because of these, and other anticipated government actions, that a steering committee of people from various organizations in Northumberland has come together in an attempt to put the Northumberland Social Justice Committee (NCSJ) in place, said Blackadder, a retired union staffer. He predicts there will be “horrendous challenges over the next few years” and that co-ordinated activities through a Coalition, rather than working in local organizational silos, would be beneficial.

    There are 45 people signed up on the Coalition’s e-mail and individual meetings are taking place to determine what organizations will be part of it, Blackadder explained.

    In a release to union activists, the process is described this way: “The NCSJ is a coalition of individuals and organizations committed to social justice and based in Northumberland County. The Coalition was created for the purpose of mutual assistance and solidarity. It undertakes activities as a Coalition but also organizes its members to support social justice actions led by member organizations and others.”

    “The NCSJ is definitely a work in progress.  We have a steering committee composed of Kim McArthur-Jackson (Cobourg Queer Collective) and Derek Blackadder (retired union) as Co-Chairs along with Linda MacKenzie-Nicholas (Northumberland Health Coalition), Dan Tobin (Labour Council) and Deborah O’Connor (Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty).” 

    Individuals can also be part of the Coalition, Blackadder said.

    An open meeting for the NCSJ will be held Sept. 22 in Cobourg but the exact location has not yet been confirmed. For more information go to The Coalition also has a Facebook page.

    Read the Cobourg Now Story

  • published Not a moment to lose to protect $15 in Media 2018-09-19 21:12:22 -0400

    Not a moment to lose to protect $15

    What an incredible Day of Action we had on Saturday, September 15, to kick off the "15 Week Countdown" to $15 minimum wage! Hundreds of people came out to do outreach in over 20 cities across Ontario, extending our reach to thousands of new supporters! Bravo to everyone who participated in the day of action on the streets or online. If you haven't done so already, add your voice now by sending an email to Premier Ford and your local Member of Provincial Parliament (click here).

    Photos from September 15 Day of Action 
    Click here to see more photos from September 15 Day of Action

    There is no doubt that Labour Minister Laurie Scott's op-ed in the Financial Post suggesting that her government is preparing to cancel the $15 minimum wage was a big disappointment for many Ontarians, including almost half of Conservative voters, who support the wage increase. But let's be clear: publishing an opinion piece in the Financial Post on a Friday afternoon, is not the mark of a government confident in its actions. Were they confident to cancel our $15 minimum wage, it would have been announced at a multi-media news conference with Premier Ford at the centre. Indeed, this op-ed is more of a trial balloon for the public and a pacifier for the corporate elite. 

    What we do right now matters. There's not a moment to lose. Call or email Premier Ford, and ask your friends, neighbours, and coworkers to do the same. 

    Click here to send an email to Premier Ford and your local MPP

    As it stands, the law says: 1.7 million of us are poised to get a $15 minimum wage on January 1. Millions more will benefit from the fairer scheduling rules that are also coming on January 1. For the first time in our lives, all of us have paid sick days and job-protected emergency leave. The new equal pay for equal work rules that prevent wage discrimination based on part-time or temporary employment contracts have made life-changing differences for so many of us -- including workers of colour, newcomers and women. We have come this far by fighting for every inch of progress. 

    It is crucial that we keep up the momentum to demand public accountability from our elected officials. Despite the 66% public support for the $15 minimum wage, the special interest groups representing the 1% are pulling out all the stops to take away $15 minimum wage, paid sick days, and our other new workplace rights. 

    But WE can still stop them. Every email we send to our MPP (send an email now), every conversation we have with our friends and coworkers, every #15andFairness lawn sign or banner (order now) we display outside our home, community centre, labour council or place of worship makes a world of difference.

    In the days ahead, we have many actions coming up from Hamilton (Sept. 24, click for details) to Brantford (Sept. 25 & 26, click for details), Kingston (Sept, 28, click for details) to Aurora (Sept. 29, click for details). And if you are based in Toronto, please join us at next week's Volunteer drop-in on Monday, City-wide Organizing Meeting on Tuesday or Phonebank on Wednesday. An incredible number of people are joining our campaign every day. We need all the help we can get to follow-up with them, and connect them with local actions. Click here to see the full list of upcoming events.