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Changing Workplaces

Making work fairer for all Ontarians

Years of organizing, mobilizing, lobbying, rallying and working with community partners has culminated with the introduction of sweeping new changes to the laws governing work in Ontario.

On June 1, the Ontario government introduced the ‘Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act’ (Bill 148) in response to the realities of increasingly more precarious work and the public call for stronger rules that protect workers and a higher minimum wage.

The new changes will help raise the floor for all workers, particularly those who are most overrepresented in precarious work such as women, young workers, workers of colour, workers with disabilities and those from newcomer communities.

Unifor has been at the forefront of pushing for major legislative changes to address the nature of work today, through the government’s Changing Workplaces Review.

The more than two year Changing Workplaces Review examined both the Employment Standards and Labour Relations Acts with the stated goal of tackling the growth of precarious, insecure work. Its final report was issued on May 23, 2017, containing 173 recommendations for the government to consider.

The new legislation would include:

  • An increase to the minimum wage to $14 on January 1, 2018 and up to $15 on January 1, 2019.
  • Card check certification in the home care and building services sectors, as well as for temp agency workers.
  • Equal pay for part-time, casual, seasonal and temporary workers.
  • New provisions around scheduling that require employers to pay workers for three hours, in the case of a cancelled shift.
  • Increasing proactive enforcement of the Employment Standards Act and higher fines for employers who break the law.
  • An expanded definition of employee and employer to prevent the misclassification of dependent contractors.
  • 10 days of Personal Emergency Leave for all workers, including two paid days.

This is a significant victory, but it is not over yet. The new act has only passed first reading and will soon move to committee hearings over the summer, where Unifor members will have the opportunity to present and urge the government to move quickly to enact the new legislation.

Unifor will also continue advocating for three weeks of vacation for all workers, paid leave for domestic violence survivors and card check certification for other sectors dominated by precarious work, such as retail and fast food.

When we are successful in winning positive changes for workers, these new laws could serve as a model for other provinces and federally-regulated sectors.

Follow the links below to learn more about how to get involved and join the growing global movement for decent work.

Read why CANCEA's analysis of Bill 148 lacks credibility here

Read the primer on Bill 148: Fair Work, Better Jobs Act

Read the letter from Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi on the Ontario Legislative Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

Read Unifor’s response to the government’s announcement on new legislation

Read about the new legislation here

Read the Changing Workplaces Review Report Summary here

Read Unifor’s response to the final report here

Read this letter from Unifor President Jerry Dias and Ontario Regional Director Naureen Rizvi to Premier Wynne on why we need changes now!

Read the factsheet on predatory employment and temporary workers here.

Watch this video and hear about why these issues matters to temp agency workers.

Check out the Ontario Federation of Labour’s Make It Fair campaign.

Check out the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign.

Read Unifor's full submission to the Ontario Changing Workplace Consultation here.

Read the one page summary of our submission or the PowerPoint Presentation.

And be sure to click on the Take Action tab above to see how you can help.