Ontario Workers Needs Support Now
The new Minister of Labour, David Piccini, has an excellent opportunity to address a lot of ongoing issues within our province. This is Piccini’s opportunity to do something to help workers and their families, something that has been sorely missing in Ontario. Piccini and the Ontario Government must provide relief and support for Ontario workers who have been struggling with the cost-of-living crisis.
There have been clear and precise attacks on the rights of Ontario workers. One of Premier Doug Ford’s first attacks on workers was the gutting of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act. Later, Ford cancelled a planned increase to the minimum wage to $15 / hour. Then, Ford froze the minimum wage for two years. He also eliminated the two paid sick days that were legislated in by the previous Liberal government. Furthermore, he ended the equal pay for equal work program. Ford wasn’t done there.
In 2019, the Ontario Government legislated Bill 124, a Bill that caps public sector workers’ compensation and wage increases to 1% annually. This was supposed to be for three years. But after a court struck down the Bill as being unconstitutional, Ford spent millions of dollars appealing the court’s decision. This action further delays the restoration of workers’ fairly negotiated wage increases.
These attacks on Ontario workers have had a devastating impact. It means workers have less money in their pockets to pay essential bills, especially when the cost-of-living crisis has hit Ontario. During the pandemic workers lacked the proper protections they needed at work, and this will be the case if or when there is a reoccurrence.
Ford later legislated Bill 88 that made it legal to pay temporary and migrant workers less than minimum wage. This Bill also made the temporary and migrant workers exempt from protections that all workers deserve under the Employment Standards Act.
It is obvious the policies of the Ontario Government have had a damaging effect on workers. It’s very apparent that Ontario workers have suffered long enough under Ford’s government. Ontario workers are done waiting and they need full support now.
Northumberland Labour Council is urging MPP David Piccini to use this opportunity to make things right with some immediate and meaningful acts of support for Ontario workers.