Workers’ rights and workplace safety
Doug Ford’s agenda for workers’ rights and workplace safety will mean more precarious work, lower wages, unsafe jobs, and an undermining of collective bargaining rights
Doug Ford has stripped workers rights to the bone and wants to open Ontario to exploitation by introducing legislation that imposes wage freezes for public sector workers, undermines collective bargaining rights, and makes precarious, part-time work the rule not the exception. His government has also made it easier for employers to break the labour code, minimized fines, and lessened inspections. It’s a recipe for disaster and dangerous work that will bring down wages and hurt workers everywhere.
Doug Ford’s conservatives have weakened labour standards in Ontario to an alarming degree by introducing Bill 47 which repealed the requirement to pay temp agency workers doing the same work the same rate of pay based on agency employment status, dramatically affecting temporary workers. It also placed the onus on proving misclassification of workers on the employee, not the employer. At the same time Doug Ford cut $16 million in funding for the Ministry of Labour’s office tasked with occupational injury, illness and death prevention.
Doug Ford’s right-wing government also introduced Bill 124, the Protecting a Sustainable Public Sector for Future Generations Act, 2019, Doug Ford and his right-wing government have made it clear that they will continue to serve the interest of big business, not of the working people of Ontario.
If passed, Bill 124 would impose a one per cent cap on wages and compensation for workers in the public sector for the next three years. This legislation interferes and infringes on the rights of workers to free collective bargaining.
The bill was introduced after a series of sham consultations with unions and employer groups – “consultations” that were premised on the pre-determined idea of limiting compensation for public sector workers. This list includes workers in the provincial public service, school boards, universities, colleges, hospitals, charitable and non-profit long-term care homes, Ornge air ambulance, Children’s Aid Societies and other organization who receive $1 million or more per year from the provincial government.
If passed at least 16,000 Unifor members in Ontario would be directly impacted.
Doug Ford has justified this legislation in part through its narrative that public sector workers are highly paid, over-compensated workers who are costing the government too much money.
This is far from the truth.
We know that public sector wage increases have not kept up with inflation or even private sector wage increases over the last decade. Wage increases for health care workers in the private sector have not increased near to the cost of inflation.
In the fall, Doug Ford’s government will reconvene in the fall and we have a chance to stop him from slashing public sector wages and undermining workers’ rights.