On May 23, 2017 the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review was made public. On Thursday, June 1, the government introduced Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 aimed at amending both the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.
Bill 148 is only an initial step toward more fairness in Ontario workplaces. Better wages, equal pay provisions for part-time and temporary employees, more vacation time and access to paid sick days will help to create better and more secure working conditions in a province where tens of thousands of workers are dealing with precarious or part-time employment in low-wage jobs.
OSSTF/FEESO welcomes the steps that the Ontario government has undertaken to update the province’s employment standards and labour laws, and to increase Ontario’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2019.
None of these changes would have been possible without the dedicated activists who put in countless hours informing Ontarians and pressuring the government to understand the struggles of workers trying to make ends meet with regulations that have not kept pace with changes in work.
Unions, partnering together through the Ontario Federation of Labour and the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign, can celebrate the recommendations and draft legislation aimed at helping workers, but the fight is by no means over. We must continue to work to discredit the fear mongering by those members of the business community who continue to advocate for business models that keep people in poverty. We must all speak up to ensure a better Ontario for all workers.