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Proposed labour law reforms released

The final report of the Changing Workplaces Review (CWR) was released on May 23 with more than 400 recommendations on how to reform employment and labour laws in Ontario.

The CWR began in 2015 with the promise of transformational change. Workplace laws had not been updated since the 1990s. With the rise of precarious work, the government acknowledged that the old laws weren’t good enough. But in spite of the government’s own admission that Ontario laws leave today’s working people behind, the CWR final report stops far short of ending precarious work. This is especially true of precariously employed professionals.

While SEP was successful in urging the CWR to recommend expanding collective bargaining to include legal, medical and other previously excluded professionals, further gaps remain. For example, the CWR concluded that it would not clarify the definition of a manager to provide a clearer line between a supervisor eligible to join a union and a true manager that cannot. The report also doesn’t help professionals whose employment is entirely conditional on their employer winning a single contract, such as SEP’s members at Inergi or NSS.

Going forward, SEP will be further analyzing the CWR report with our labour and community allies to decide on next steps. But the provincial government has promised to introduce new workplace legislation in the near future – possibly as early as next week – and there is no guarantee what will be in that legislation. However, business interests are lobbying hard for a law that will further disadvantage workers. So now is an important time for members to let their MPP know that they support fairness for all workers, including professionals. Members’ support might be based on their own experience with precarious work or that of their children, friends and neighbours. The easiest way to get in touch with your MPP is by clicking here.

To learn more about the Changing Workplaces Review recommended labour reforms, the Ontario Federation of Labour invites union members to join their conference call briefing on May 31. Click here for more information and to RSVP.