The Doug Ford government’s anti-worker Bill 47 is now law. This new legislation was used to rollback almost all of the gains workers made under Bill 148, which came into law earlier this year under the previous government, as well as to stop the scheduled January 1, 2019 minimum wage increase to $15 per hour.
The Society and the labour movement welcomed Bill 148 as it reflected some of the first improvements in working conditions for employees in Ontario for many years. The Bill’s introduction followed extensive consultation with industry, employers and labour in addition to an independent review by the Changing Workplaces Review Panel. While Bill 148 left room for improvement, it was a large step forward for workers’ rights, the ability to unionize and fairer workplaces.
The process leading up the introduction of Bill 47, on the other hand, lacked any substantial consultation, was marred by dubious facts presented by the government and, ultimately, only reflected the concerns presented by big business lobbies and corporate interest groups. There was no effort to properly analyze the economic impact of the changes made by Bill 148 and there was no justification for why part-time, casual and temporary workers in Ontario will no longer receive equal pay for equal work, doctor’s notes for sick time are once again required, paid sick days have been taken away and it is now more difficult for workers to exercise their constitutional right to join a union.
The Society will continue to advocate for improvements to working conditions for members and all Ontario workers that reflect the realities of modern workplaces.