Jessica






  • published Poster: WE are the people - French (11x17) in Resources 2018-09-08 14:59:01 -0400


  • published Poster: Hands off our paid sick days (11x17) in Resources 2018-09-08 14:41:51 -0400

  • published Poster: Hands off our union rights (11x17) in Resources 2018-09-08 11:41:13 -0400

  • published Poster: Hands off our $15 minimum wage (11x17) in Resources 2018-09-08 11:31:32 -0400

  • published Poster: WE are the people (11x17) in Resources 2018-09-07 21:32:42 -0400


  • published The clock is ticking. Help protect $15 & Fairness! in Media 2018-08-20 10:19:52 -0400

    The clock is ticking. Help protect $15 & Fairness!

    Today's Statistics Canada report reveals that Ontario is leading the country in job creation and July's unemployment rate has fallen to 5.4% -- the lowest rate since 2000. Youth employment in Ontario increased, which means more young people are finding jobs. These results fly in the face of Big Business lobby groups -- like the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce -- that made outlandish claims that raising the minimum wage would kill jobs, especially for youth. As we can see, nothing could be further from the truth. And yet, the new Ontario government is still preparing to cancel our $15 minimum wage and roll back our other labour law victories. We can't let this happen. 

    The clock is ticking.

    Doug Ford is clearly wasting no time in advancing his agenda. Not only has he launched a direct attack on municipal representation in Toronto, he’s taken out his own Conservative rival Patrick Brown by cancelling elections for the four regional chair positions. 

    In just a few short weeks, the new Conservative government has legislated striking workers back to work, cut the scheduled increase in social assistance rates, cancelled the basic income pilot project affecting thousands of low-income families, and implemented a hiring freeze that will make it harder to deliver the public services we rely on. This hiring freeze also undermines the government’s ability to enforce our new labour laws and eliminates the 100 additional Employment Standards Officers who would have been hired for that purpose.

    Clearly, it is only a matter of time before the new government tables legislation intended to roll back our hard won labour law reforms. But each day without legislation is one more day we have to organize and activate the majority of Ontarians who support a $15 minimum wage and decent work for all.

    The fight is not over and we need you more than ever!

    Mobilize and organize!

    Across Ontario, $15 and Fairness fighters have been collecting signatures on our new petition demanding the government protect -- and extend -- the improvements we’ve won through Bill 148. Already, eight (8) MPPs have read our new petition in the legislative assembly and more have promised to do so in the days ahead.

    Rally for Decent Work photo

    But we need many more people to be collecting signatures, in workplaces, campuses, and communities in every riding. We should aim to have an MPP reading our petitions into the legislative assembly every single day the legislature sits. We must use every opportunity we have to remind Premier Doug Ford and other government MPPs that WE are the people and we want our $15 minimum wage, fair scheduling laws, equal pay rules (regardless of whether we work full-time, part-time, contract, or temporarily), union rights, and more.

    Downloadable posters, petitions, leaflets, fact sheets, etc

    Click here to download our excellent new online tools, from posters & petitions to leaflets & fact sheets. 

    To order lawn signs and banners, click here

    We are the majority!

    Never forget: 60% of voters did NOT support Doug Ford and among those who did, post-election surveys show that some 40% also support the $15 minimum wage. Indeed, a recent Angus Reid poll shows that fully two-thirds of all Canadians – 66% – support a $15 minimum wage!

    We are the Majority infographic

    Click here to download our latest sharable. 

    But good sentiment is not enough. It is urgent that we find ways of pulling everyone who supports $15 and Fairness into activity, regardless of how they voted. A great example is in Barrie, where former NDP, Liberal and Green candidates joined forces to mobilize at Kempenfest – local festival. Click here to read more

    There’s no doubt that the majority of Ontarians want decent work for all and we clearly have momentum. The only thing working against us is time. It’s a race against the clock to organize and activate every single person who wants to fight. That’s why your efforts are so crucial. Let’s do our very best to beat the clock. Millions of workers are counting on us to do just that.

    Join an action near you or contact us to find out how you too can organize an event in your neighbourhood, campus, or workplace.

    UPCOMING EVENTS

    Friday, August 10
    Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice MPP Picket (Cobourg)
    4:00 pm | Constituency Office of David Piccini, Unit 7, 513 Division Street (across from No Frills, north of KFC)
    The recently-formed Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice is calling for all Northumberland residents committed to social justice to join the information picket called by the Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty (NCAP) at the time and place set out above. NCAP, together with anti-poverty organizations across the province, is calling for the Ford government to reverse its cut to the planned increase in social assistance rates and for an open and transparent process for future changes. For more information about the Ford cuts or Friday’s picket contact Deborah O'Connor, (905) 372-3646. Text 905-376-3110 or e-mail northumberlandsocialjustice@yahoo.com for more information about the Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice.

    Saturday, August 11
    Fighting Austerity, Building a powerful movement (London)
    12:00 noon – 3:00 pm | Unifor Local 27 Hall 606 First Street
    Join us to discuss building a movement to challenge the new government's plans to impose austerity. Guest speakers include: John Clarke from the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Mike Palacheck from CUPW, Pam Frache from the Fight for $15 & Fairness, and Patti Dalton from the London District Labour Council. See you there! To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Sunday, August 12
    Ottawa petitioning blitz – Lansdowne Farmers’ Market
    12:00 noon – 2:00 pm | 900 Exhibition Way
    Ontario workers are expecting a $15 minimum wage on January 1st 2019. We are ready and organized to defend the rights that we won, and push for more! We'll be reaching out to folks at the Lansdowne Farmers’ Market this Sunday! See you there! To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Outreach Blitz at Christie Pits (Toronto)
    5:45 pm – 7:30 pm | Christie Pits
    Ontario workers are expecting a $15 minimum wage on January 1st 2019. We are ready and organized to defend the rights that we won, and push for more! We'll be reaching out to folks at Christie Pits on a lovely sunday evening. Meet us at 5:45pm at the south east corner of the park near Christie and Bloor. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Tuesday, August 14
    Toronto-Wide Organizing Meeting
    5:30 pm - 8:00 pm | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 202
    We are the people that Premier Doug Ford says he represents, so let’s get him prepared to add decent work to the agenda. Join us for this next organizing meeting to find out how we can make this happen and what is next in our campaign. Snacks served at 5:30 pm. Meeting begins at 6:00 pm, finishes at 8:00 pm. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Thursday, August 16
    Kingston Summer Social and Fundraiser
    6:30 pm – 9:30 pm | Grad Club, 2nd Floor (corner of Barrie and Union) Kingston
    Join us for this summer social with guest speaker David Bush (Toronto Fight for $15 and Fairness). We’ll be discussing where the Ford Agenda and the Fight for $15 and Fairness. We’ll be hosting a 50/50 draw to help fund campaign materials. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Saturday, August 18
    Britannia Beach Pop-Up Know Your Rights Primer & Petitioning (Ottawa)
    11:00 am – 2:00 pm | Britannia Beach
    Join us as we spread the word about our new employment rights. Workers can’t enforce what they don’t know they have. A big part of our battle is making sure that workers know their rights so they can work together to enforce them. Join us at Britannia Beach to help us spread the word, collect signatures on our petition and increase the pressure on our elected representatives at Queen’s Park. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here. For more information: ottawa15andfairness@gmail.com

    Outreach Blitz in Mimico
    1:00 pm - 3:00 pm | Birds and Beans Coffee
    Ontario workers are expecting a $15 minimum wage on January 1st 2019. We are ready and organized to defend the rights that we won, and push for more. We'll be speaking to families and workers in Mimico to collect petitions that we will deliver to MPP's at Queens Park to make our voices heard! We'll meet first at the Birds and Beans cafe at 1pm. (Take the 76 bus from Royal York station). Call Jared at 647-273-5285 to find us if you're coming a bit late or for more information. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Outreach Blitz at Moss Park Festival (Toronto)
    1:00 pm - 5:00 pm | Moss Park Festival
    Moss Park festival will feature local entertainment, fun and interactive activities, market place vendors, and a community BBQ - Free Barbeque at 1pm- 2pm. The event is free and open to all! Join the Fight for $15 & Fairness as we do outreach and talk to the festival attendees about the need for a $15 minimum wage and decent work for all. We will collect petitions that we will deliver to MPP's at Queens Park to make our voices heard! To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Tuesday, August 21
    Ottawa Organizing Meeting
    6:00 pm – 7:30 pm | 251 Bank Street 
    There’s no time to lose! Join us for this Ottawa area organizing meeting. Help us send a message to Queen’s Park: Ottawa supports $15 and Fairness. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Workshop: Door-Knocking and Influencing MPPs (Toronto)
    5:30 pm – 8:00 pm | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 202
    Let's make sure all Members of Provincial Parliament are decent work champions. This summer, 30 MPPs signed our decent work pledge and many MPPs have already read our petitions into the legislature. But, we need to encourage all of them to do the same this fall. Join us for a workshop on how to influence your MPP to support decent work. We’ll learn everything from how to grab the attention of your MPP to running an effective in-person meeting. Snacks served at 5:30 pm. Meeting begins at 6:00 pm, finishes at 8:00 pm. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Saturday, August 25
    Herongate Tenant Coalition Fundraiser (Ottawa)
    7:00 pm – 10:00 pm | Happy Goat Coffee Co, 33 Laurel Street
    Join the Ottawa area Fight for $15 and Fairness as they support Herongate tenants.

    Outreach Blitz in Weston (Toronto)
    12:00 noon - 2:00 pm | Northwest corner of Weston Road and Lawrence Ave W by the clocktower.
    Ontario workers are expecting a $15 minimum wage on January 1st 2019. We are ready and organized to defend the rights that we won, and push for more. We'll be speaking to families and workers in Weston to collect petitions that we will deliver to MPP's at Queens Park to make our voices heard! To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Saturday, August 25 AND Sunday, 26
    $15 and Fairness Outreach Blitz at TamilFest (Scarborough)
    Choose your shift(s): 2:00 pm-4:00 pm OR 4:00 pm-6:00 pm | Markham Road between McNicholl Avenue and Passmore Avenue, Scarborough
    Tamil Fest is the largest Tamil street festival of its kind outside of the Indian subcontinent. This two-day festival is expected to draw thousands of people from across North America and is a unique platform to showcase and exhibit traditional and modern Tamil culture, cuisine, arts and entertainment. Join the Fight for $15 & Fairness as we do outreach and talk to the festival attendees about the need for a $15 minimum wage and decent work for all. We will be having 2 shifts on Saturday, August 25; and 2 shifts on Sunday, August 26. The shifts will be 2-4pm, and 4-6pm for both days. To RSVP for August 25, click here; to RSVP for August 26, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Sunday, August 26
    $15 and Fairness at Ottawa Pride
    1:30 pm to 3:30 pm | Bank Street
    We’re loud and proud and can’t wait to take $15 and Fairness to Ottawa’s Pride Parade with the message that all workers deserve protection! To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here. For more information: ottawa15andfairness@gmail.com

    $15 & Fairness outreach blitz in Oakwood (Toronto)
    12 pm noon - 2:00 pm | 1471 Eglinton Ave W (Meet at Coffee Time)
    Ontario workers are expecting a $15 minimum wage on January 1st 2019. We are ready and organized to defend the rights that we won, and push for more. We'll be speaking to families and workers in Oakwood to collect petitions that we will deliver to MPP's at Queens Park to make our voices heard! P.S Extra exciting news: MPP Jill Andrews will be joining us this round. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Tuesday, August 28
    Toronto-Wide Organizing Meeting
    5:30 pm - 8:00 pm | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 202
    The momentum is with us and we are pulling out all the stops to protect and extend our new labour rights, including equal pay, fair scheduling, union rights, and our $15 minimum wage. Please note there will be a special caucus to discuss strategy and action to enforce the new equal pay protections for workers and faculty on college and university campuses. We are extending a special invitation for students, staff, and faculty to join us. Snacks served at 5:30 pm. Meeting begins at 6:00 pm, finishes at 8:00 pm. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Wednesday, August 29
    Ottawa ACORN Herongate Press Conference
    Save the date: Details TBA

    Monday, September 3rd
    LABOUR DAY - Events across Ontario
    Check with your local labour council to find a Labour Day event in your community. Click here for a list of labour councils across Ontario. 

    Toronto 15 & Fairness at Labour Day 
    9:45 am - 12:45 pm | Trinity Bellwoods Park - 790 Queen St W
    The Big Business lobby isn't going to stop and we won't stop until every single worker has $15 and real fairness at work. We'll meet at Trinity Bellwoods gates and will be spreading the word about what's at stake in the upcoming months. It's gonna be a morning of freezies and fun! To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Tuesday, September 4th
    Workshop: Organizing Creative Actions
    5:30 pm - 8:00 pm | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 202
    Join us for this workshop on how to organize creative, empowering and fun actions. The more creative and attractive our events, the more likely we'll be to draw new people into our movement. Together we’ll share tips and strategies for building the boldest actions possible. Snacks served at 5:30 pm, workshop begins at 6:00 pm and finishes at 8:00 pm. To RSVP click here and to spread the word on Facebook, click here.

    Thursday, September 6th
    Carleton University (Ottawa) Grad Fair Tabling
    12:00 noon – 4:00 pm | Carleton University
    Fighting for $15 and Fairness means fighting for equal pay for full-time, part-time and contract workers and faculty on campus. Join us for a petitioning blitz to help students, staff, and faculty enforce equal pay for equal work, and other current and scheduled provisions under the new law, including our $15 minimum wage. To RSVP, click here & to spread the word on Facebook, click here. For more information, email ottawa15andfairness@gmail.com.

    Tuesday, September 11th
    Toronto-wide Organizing Meeting
    5:30 pm - 8:00 pm | 720 Spadina Ave, Suite 202
    There's no time to lose as we step up our fight for $15 and fairness! At this meeting, we'll share the latest news, information, action updates and strategies to mobilize the majority who want a $15 minimum wage and decent work. In addition to our ongoing caucuses, we will be hosting a special trade union caucus for union members. It will be a chance to share tips and learn more about organizing for $15 & Fairness and strengthening your union. You'll go home with all the tools you need to build this campaign with your fellow union members! Snacks served at 5:30 pm, workshop begins at 6:00 pm and finishes at 8:00 pm. To RSVP click here and to spread the word on Facebook, click here.


  • The Globe and Mail: Ontario unemployment rate hits 18-year low, six months after minimum wage hike

    By Rachelle Younglai

    Ontario’s jobless rate hit an 18-year low in July, as the country’s largest economy continued to churn out jobs despite this year’s hefty hike in the minimum wage.

    When the province raised the mandatory hourly rate 21 per cent to $14 in January, businesses and their trade groups warned of employment losses. But, six months later, Statistics Canada data show that has not happened.

    In fact, Ontario’s labour market is on fire.

    The province added 61,000 new jobs in July and the jobless rate fell from 5.9 per cent to 5.4 per cent − the lowest level since 2000, according to the Statscan monthly Labour Force Survey released on Friday. Over all, the country added 54,000 net new jobs in July. The national jobless rate fell from 6 per cent to 5.8 per cent, reverting back to where it has been for most of the year.

    Although most of the employment gains this year have been in the public sector and the latest spurt of new jobs were part-time, analysts suggested Ontario’s economy withstood the sharp wage increase. Ontario’s paid employment has increased at the fastest pace since 2010, according to National Bank Financial.

    “From a very big picture view, the Ontario job market is holding up relatively well given the shock of a plus 21 per cent increase in minimum wages,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist with Bank of Montreal.

    One sector dominated with minimum-wage workers – accommodation and food services – has expanded this year. Although the sector lost 1,900 positions in July, it has added a total of 7,100 since the higher minimum wage went into effect in January.

    Other low-paying sectors have also hired more employees in the first half of the year. Transportation and warehousing gained 13,500 jobs and business, building and other support services increased by a similar amount.

    “It is tough to find a lot of evidence that employment has been negatively impacted,” said Josh Nye, senior economist with Royal Bank of Canada. “In terms of the minimum-wage hike, it has come at a good time when the economy is able to absorb that. Demand for labour is so strong and labour market conditions are quite tight. Employers don’t have much of a choice,” he said.

    On the downside, another sector with low-paying jobs – wholesale and retail trade – has shrunk in Ontario. However, the losses are not unique to Ontario. Across the country, that sector has shed more than 50,000 positions in the first half of the year.

    Ontario’s minimum hourly wage was due to climb to $15 next year. But the recently elected Premier, Doug Ford, had campaigned on a promise to keep the mandatory rate at $14 and allow subsequent increases at the rate of inflation.

    The minimum-wage hike has helped boost paycheques. In Ontario, the average hourly rate increased 4.3 per cent to $27.16 over July of last year. Across Canada, average hourly earnings rose by 3.2 per cent to $26.61.

    “Employers seem reluctant to part with their now more expensive workers perhaps due to reported labour shortages,” National Bank economist Krishen Rangasamy said in a note. “The persistence of strong sales and profits could also explain the resilience of employment,” the note said.

    As for fallout from the recent trade war between the United States and Canada, it is difficult to ascertain whether the weakness in factory work is because of uncertainty over free trade in North America, sluggish auto production or the bevy of tariffs the United States and Canada have placed on each other’s goods, including U.S. tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel.

    “It may be a little early. But one can’t help but wonder if that is not at play," Mr. Porter said.

    Manufacturing shrunk by 18,000 positions last month, although the number of jobs in the sector is up since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January, 2017.

    Read The Globe and Mail Story

     

     


  • Toronto Star: Ontario’s employment boom defies minimum-wage naysayers

    By Greg Quinn, Bloomberg

    In spite of some predictions to the contrary, Ontario’s sharp minimum wage increase hasn’t killed its labour market.

    Business owners and economists fretted the 21 per cent wage hike, which took effect Jan. 1, would cause a slowdown.

    But the latest employment report shows the province’s jobless rate fell to 5.4 per cent in July, the lowest since 2000, and lower than every other province except British Columbia.

    Ontario’s payrolls jumped 0.8 per cent last month for the biggest gain since 1989, and employment has been climbing since February.

    The minimum wage increase stoked controversy: Advocates said lower-income families would benefit from having more disposable income. Critics predicted they would suffer as businesses cut staff and reduced hours.

    Owners of grocery stores and restaurants said while the government moved too fast, they would make changes to cushion the blow, such as buying more equipment or raising prices.

    Doug Ford, now premier, said tax cuts were a better way to help families, and that argument helped propel his Progressive Conservatives to a June election victory against Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals, who brought in the pay increase.

    The labour gains suggest companies are coping with higher wage costs because of the strong economy, said Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank Financial in Montreal.

    “While Ontario’s minimum wage increase had the expected effect of lifting Canada’s average wage growth this year, the advertised negative impact on employment is less apparent,” Rangasamy wrote in a research note.

    “Employers seem reluctant to part with their now more expensive workers perhaps due to reported labour shortages, although the persistence of strong sales and profits could also explain the resilience of employment.”

    Read the Toronto Star Story


  • Huff Post: No, Ontario's Minimum Wage Hike Didn't Kill Jobs. Here's The Proof.

    By Daniel Tencer

    The numbers show what many experts have argued: Minimum wage hikes don't derail strong economies.

    Many experts predicted that Ontario's hefty minimum wage hike to $14 an hour at the start of this year would harm the province's job creation.

    TD Bank issued a study suggesting the move could cost the province some 90,000 jobs. Industry group Restaurants Canada warned the wage hike, along with other labour law reforms, would put 185,000 jobs at risk, including 17,000 in food services.

    Some employers seemed to get downright nasty to their workers in the wake of the wage hike. Take, for instance, reports of some Tim Hortons franchisees cutting paid breaks and benefits for workers.

    But six months later, there is no sign of the wage hike having negatively impacted job creation in Ontario. The province added some 60,000 jobs in July (though many of those were in the public sector) and its unemployment rate fell to 5.4 per cent, according to Statistics Canada data — the lowest rate in 18 years.

    "While Ontario's minimum wage increase had the expected effect of lifting Canada's average wage growth this year, the advertised negative impact on employment is less apparent," National Bank of Canada economist Krishen Rangasamy wrote in a client note.

    "Employers seem reluctant to part with their now more expensive workers perhaps due to reported labour shortages," Rangasamy added, "although the persistence of strong sales and profits could also explain the resilience of employment."

    Indeed, there are labour shortages all across Canada's economy these days.

    The Canadian Federation of Independent Business reports there were nearly 400,000 jobs in Canada that had been unfilled for four months or more in the second quarter of this year. Ontario accounts for nearly 155,000 of those vacant jobs.

    The 3.1-per-cent job vacancy rate is the highest since the CFIB started tracking these numbers in 2004.

    But how have things played out for minimum-wage workers in Ontario?

    We looked at two industries that rely particularly heavily on minimum wage workers: Accommodation and food services, and retail and wholesale trade.

    In accommodation and food services, Ontario added an impressive 14,000 jobs since the $14-an-hour minimum wage came into force in January, an increase of 2.3 per cent.

    That's stronger job growth for that category than across Canada as a whole, which saw a 1.5 per cent increase over that time.

    In wholesale and retail, Ontario lost jobs — down 0.8 per cent since the start of the year. But Canada as a whole saw jobs drop by a much steeper 1.8 per cent over that time. In this category, Ontario is still outperforming the Canadian average.

    Of course, what we can't know is how job growth in Ontario would have looked had the minimum wage hike not happened; conceivably, it may have been even stronger.

    But the data suggests that the minimum wage hike didn't derail Ontario's economic momentum. It reflects what some economists have argued for a long time: Minimum wage hikes have little impact on job growth. Other factors in the economy play a larger role.

    In Ontario's case, that may have to do lately with the very strong population growth the province has seen over the past year — up about 1.8 per cent, according to a recent analysis from Bank of Montreal. That is creating a lot of new demand in the economy.

    The previous provincial Liberal government had planned to raise the minimum wage again at the beginning of 2019, to $15 an hour.

    But the new Progressive Conservative government under Premier Doug Ford has vowed to roll back that hike. The government has vowed instead to eliminate provincial income taxes for minimum wage earners.

    Read the HuffPost Story


  • Barrie Today: Adversaries unite, take 'Fight for $15' to Kempenfest

    By Shawn Gibson

    Local politicians from three different parties met together at Meridian Square today before heading out to the massive crowds of Kempenfest to get signatures that will tell Ontario Premier Doug Ford they do not want his PC government to roll-back the $15 minimum wage.

    The campaign, dubbed Fight For $15 and Fairness, is not just an action to keep the minimum wage the way it is, but also to improve the rules related to paid sick days, decent hours and a respectable workplace, say local politicians.

    Keenan Aylwin (Green Party candidate), Dan Janssen (NDP candidate) and Michael Speers (former Liberal staffer) joined forces today to gather as many signatures as they can on a topic they all believe in.

    Aylwin has long been an advocate for small businesses and those who make them work and feels that the Conservative government in power right now is doing a lot of talking but not acting in support of those who need it.

    “We are going around with a petition in support of a $15 minimum wage but also in support of workers throughout the province who truly are under attack by the current provincial government,” said Aylwin.

    “There were some struggles when the wages were increased but businesses are adjusting and I think they could handle a further increase as well, but they do need some support from the government; a government that says they support small business but aren’t doing much to do just that," he added.

    The signatures will be collected and delivered to local MPPs Doug Downey and Andrea Khanjin in hopes that they will present the petition to the legislature.

    As a member of the NDP and someone who is heavily involved with rights for workers, Janssen believes that many Ontarians feel the same as him: that it is important for everyone to be able to make their rent payments and afford the amenities that go with that.

    Janssen doesn’t feel the trio will have a problem in spreading the word about their initiative nor in obtaining signatures.

    “We’re going to try to get as many signatures as we can get but we’d be satisfied if we get a 100 or 150 today, which I don't think will be a problem due to the stats we’ve seen like a poll recently released that says 66% of Canadians believe that $15 minimum wage is a good thing,” said Janssen.

    “This is really important and as someone who is personally involved with the labour movement, I see the benefit in the $15 and Fairness campaign in that it has become a movement and is gaining province wide support with every action and gathering," Janssen noted. "Today is a show of unity with members of three separate parties joining together not for personal gain, but for workers' gain.”

    Speers has worked for the Liberal government, was employed by the Minister of Labour and is now a local advocate. He said that having been involved with the government who delivered the minimum wage increase, he knows how beneficial it is and he hopes that everyone will take a  look at the positive things involved and not get lost in the negative rhetoric by those opposed.

    “I worked for the Minister of Labour when we did Bill 148, so I know all the work that went into it and I know all the work that 15 and Fairness has done as far as pushing it,” said Speers.

    “With regards to the people of Barrie, there are a lot of progressive voices out there so when you have the three of us working together, it shows that you can put party allegiances aside and get work done in the community. We’ve done the homework and at the end of the day everyone in this province deserves a decent wage and it doesn’t have to be one way or the other. You can pay this increase and treat employees well and give them all the incentives they need to want to work for you; cutting through the garbage being said by those against this is why we’re out today and spreading the truth.”

    For more information on the campaign head to the website at www.15andfairness.org

    Read the Barrie Today Story


  • published Infographic: We are the 66% Majority in Resources 2018-08-10 09:19:24 -0400

  • CBC News: Protesters rally against Ford government at Queen's Park

    Sweeping changes by new provincial government include ending cap-and-trade, repealing sex-ed curriculum

    Around 150 people gathered outside Queen's Park on Saturday to rally against several changes by the new Ontario government.

    Chester Madrazo, one of the organizers, said the morning rally was in support of public services and marginalized people.

    Premier Doug Ford has vowed to bring sweeping changes to the province, including ending cap-and-trade and repealing the current sex-ed curriculum.

    Outside the legislature, demonstrators held "15 and Fairness" signs, condemned changes to the provincial curriculum, expressed worry about the environment and showed concern for potential budget cuts to social programs. 

    Indygo Arscott, 16, spoke against the last-minute decision to cancel curriculum-writing sessions aimed at bringing more Indigenous content into Ontario classrooms.

    "While I am only a child, my heart lies with the children of the future," said Arscott to the crowd.

    Incorporating Indigenous knowledge and history into the K-12 curriculum is crucial step in reconciliation, Arscott said.

    "We have a right to view ourselves ... in education systems. We are a multidimensional people, and we deserve to be recognized as more than our trauma."

    Arscott, who will be going into Grade 11, fears that recent education decisions will leave young people "fearful and uninformed." 

    "You must teach the curriculum you want to reflect the future," Arscott said.

    Carolyn Ferns of the Ontario Coalition for Better Childcare said she's worried the new government will make cuts to childcare.

    It took years of consultation and organizing to get the new childcare spaces promised by the previous government, and families are depending on them, Ferns said.

    'When I saw the first things that the Ford government was attacking, they're all attacks on children," said Ferns.

    "If it's abandoning asylum seekers, those are attacks on families. If it's repealing the sex-ed curriculum, those are attacks on our kids."

    Madrazo is troubled by many of Ford's decisions and said Saturday's rally was "just the beginning."

    He said there will be starting an online group called Ontarians for Social Progress where people can organize and discuss various issues.

    Madrazo added that organizers are not looking at the Ford government as enemies but just want to work together to ensure social programs stand.

    Read the CBC News Story


  • Toronto Star: Ontario government hiring freeze ices plan to strengthen workplace inspections

    By Sarah Mojtehedzadeh

    The Ontario government’s hiring freeze has paused plans to double the Ministry of Labour’s complement of enforcement officers charged with investigating wage theft and other workplace abuses.

    Legislation passed last November under premier Kathleen Wynne included a promise to hire 175 new employment standards officers in order to inspect one in 10 Ontario workplaces and resolve workplace complaints within 90 days. The pledge came after both worker advocates and some business groups argued the ministry’s enforcement efforts should be improved.

    Around 75 of the new officers have already been hired, but the remaining job postings appear to be on hold amid the government-wide hiring freeze the incoming Doug Ford administration ordered last week. Ford’s Progressive Conservatives take power on Friday.

    “Until the new government can put in place an expenditure management strategy, the Ontario Public Service is implementing additional expenditure restrictions which includes a freeze on new external hiring, with the exception of essential frontline services,” said Janet Deline, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour.

    Currently, the processing time for employment standards claims — which involve issues like unpaid wages, overtime pay, or failure to pay minimum wage — is five months, Deline said.

    The ministry did not answer questions from the Star about whether it is meeting its stated goal of inspecting one in 10 workplaces because it is “currently in caretaker mode and cannot comment on future government commitments.”

    In 2017/2018, Deline said the ministry conducted 3,507 proactive employment standards inspections. There are 999,766 workplaces in Ontario according to Statistics Canada, although proactive inspections are focused on non-union employers.

    TOP STORIES. IN YOUR INBOX: For the day’s top news from the Star’s award-winning journalists, sign up for our daily headlines newsletter.

    Independent academic research commissioned for a two-year review of the province’s employment laws found that victims of wage theft across Ontario lost out on $28 million from 2011 to 2015 because the Ministry of Labour failed to collect the pay owed to them.

    Last year, the government’s rate of recovery when individual workers filed claims for unpaid entitlements was around one-third, according to data obtained by the Star through a Freedom of Information request.

    Proactive inspections, which are initiated at the behest of the ministry rather than workers coming forward to complain, often at the expense of their jobs, have proven to be far more effective in recovering stolen wages. The recovery rate for these investigations, which Bill 148 was meant to expand by hiring more enforcement officers, was almost 100 per cent.

    In his five months as a construction site supervisor, Mississauga resident Felix Toro worked 15-hour days, racked up hundreds of hours of overtime, incurred thousands of dollars of business expenses on behalf of his boss, and ended up being owed in excess of $17,700 in unpaid entitlements.

    Those were the conclusions a Ministry of Labour investigation landed on in July 2016, which ordered Toro’s employer to pay up. Toro has still not received his money.

    For Toro, it meant maxed out credit cards, leaning on friends, and giving up on buying a house with his pregnant wife.

    “I came here to work hard. It’s about a good life here where you can raise your children,” says Toro, who trained as a dentist in his native Colombia. “That’s so frustrating for me.”

    In a submission to the province’s so-called Changing Workplaces Review, which led to Bill 148, a submission from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce argued that “many of the workplace challenges government is seeking to address can be solved by improving employer and employee awareness of workplace rights and subsequently enforcing, with greater regularity, violations of those rights.”

    Deena Ladd of the Toronto-based Workers’ Action Centre said numerous research studies have shown that “enforcement is critical.”

    “You have to make sure that our rights and protections that we rely on in the workplace are not just words on a piece of paper.”

    Read the Toronto Star Story