Premier Doug Ford is calling the ‘Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act’ a “terrible, terrible bill.”
At the legislature on Tuesday, Ford said he would be scrapping paid sick days, and later commented to reporters about his dislike of the act, officially known as Bill 148.
The Premier said that 60,000 people in Ontario lost their jobs because of the bill, which was passed last fall by the Liberal government.
Bill 148 included minimum wage increases, first to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation. Already, the $15 minimum wage has been scrapped by Ford.
The act also included five paid days for domestic and sexual violence survivors, two paid sick days, and 10 days of personal emergency leave days, two of which were paid, and other workplace protections.
“I don’t think this is any surprise,” Ford told reporters. “Bill 148 is a job killer… it’s a terrible, terrible bill if you look at it.”
Ford said that his government will be talking about the bill over “the next little while.”
“We want to to make sure Ontario is open for business,” he said. “And companies know it’s a friendly atmosphere.”
Not everyone agrees this is a good move. Opposition leader Andrea Horwath took to Twitter and condemned the Premier’s statements.
“Instead of Ford’s plan to drag Ontario backwards, we could be making life better for working Ontarians — like making sure everyone gets a $15 minimum wage, guaranteeing paid leave for victims of domestic violence, and providing sick time,” she wrote.
“One government after another has left Ontario’s workforce without the improvements they deserve and need to build safer, more equitable workplaces and a better work-life balance. It doesn’t have to be this way.”
If Mr. Ford follows through on his threat to roll back the clock, things for the little guy and average Ontarian will go from bad to worse – and all just to benefit Ford’s rich friends in big business.
Ontarians deserve so much better. #onpoli
— Andrea Horwath (@AndreaHorwath) October 2, 2018
The Ontario Federation of Labour also says scrapping the act will hurt workers across the province.
“The reforms under Bill 148 improved conditions for workers across the board, updating shamefully outdated labour and employment laws. For our government to answer the call of big business by hurting the people he has promised to defend is shameful,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley in a statement.
At this time, the government has not introduced any legislation or regulation that would cancel Bill 148.
The Ontario Federation of Labour said there is still time to change their plan.
“Our Premier should be looking after vulnerable workers in this province by respecting Bill 148,” said Buckley. “Those gains in Bill 148 provide a direct benefit to the workers that Doug Ford calls ‘the little guy.’ Cancelling Bill 148 will hurt, not help workers in Ontario.”