Ford government officially passes Ontario labour reform legislation

Nov 21 2018, 6:41 pm

The provincial government has just passed Bill 47, the labour reform legislation that undoes many of Ontario’s labour laws that were previously introduced by the Liberal government.

The new law will freeze minimum wage at $14 an hour until 2020, eliminate two paid sick days for workers, among other changes.

“Last week, Ford’s government brought in tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our province and, today, they are making life much harder for workers and their families. That’s just wrong,” said Candace Rennick, Secretary-Treasurer of CUPE Ontario, in a statement.

“All across Ontario, workers and their families are struggling and, today, the premier has made things worse. He keeps saying he is for ‘the people’ but, it is becoming increasingly clear, that is not the case.”

Under the new law, which comes into effect on January 1, 2019, Ontario minimum wage will remain at $14 until October 2020, with future increases to reflect the rate of inflation.

The law will also bring the number of paid personal leave days down to eight from 10. This includes three for personal illness, two for bereavement leave and three for family responsibilities.

According to CUPE, the bill also:

  • Forces workers to provide doctors’ notes despite doctors saying it creates a costly burden on the health care system
  • Eliminates the requirement for employers to pay part-timers the same rate as full-timers doing the same work
  • Stops the requirement of fair notification of schedule changes
  • Removes protections for temp agency workers
  • Takes away protections against employers who try to exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors
  • Makes it harder to join a union
  • Puts workers’ safety at risk by reducing apprenticeship ratios and removing a legal obligation that tied those ratios to rates of injury in all trade sectors

According to the provincial government, the new legislation, which is the ‘Making Ontario Open for Business’ Act, would “enable more Ontario employers to boost job creation and investment by cutting unnecessary regulations that are inefficient, inflexible and out of date, while maintaining standards to keep Ontarians safe and healthy.”

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