Changing Economy Necessitates Modernization Of Ontario Labour Laws
For over twenty years, Ontario’s Labour Law and Employment Standards Act has been frozen in time while economy has drastically changed. The Interim Report of the Changing Workplace Review, released on July 27th, clearly recognizes that reality, and invites the people of Ontario to debate a wide menu of options to remedy the rise of poverty wages and precarious work.
The Report combines a full reflection of what was heard across the province from workers, unions, employers and community groups. In most cases employers suggested no changes to existing legislation, while all other voices called for dramatic improvements in workers’ rights.
“Insecurity has risen and realities for families across Toronto and York region have shifted far from when the current laws were written” said Andria Babbington, Vice-President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. “It is time to face the truth; that to strengthen the rights of Ontario workers is to build a stronger province, one that is built on principles of justice and prosperity for all.”
The Labour Council welcomes the Report and is urging the Government of Ontario to prepare to bring in bold legislation that will provide more balance in the economy between the interests of workers and power of employers. The decline of unionization levels and stagnation of wages is a direct result of corporate restructuring and fierce business resistance to workers securing a collective voice in their workplace. At the same time the huge increase of temporary and part-time work is depriving the next generation of meaningful careers.
The Labour Council has been campaigning for a number of years to improve workers’ rights to organize into unions, improve their working conditions, and win dignity and respect on the job.
The Toronto and York Region Labour Council is a central labour body that combines the strength of over 150 local unions representing 205,000 women and men and who work in every sector of the economy.