The Ontario Government is threatening to take away workers’ hard-won rights. Workers recently won changes through Bill 148 that are meant to protect us at work and bring us out of poverty. On January 1, 2018, the general minimum wage went up to $14, which gave long-awaited pay raises to about 1.7 million workers.
Below is a list of labour law improvements, also introduced through Bill 148, that are now at risk of being taken away:
- 10 days of personal emergency leave, the first 2 paid, and a doctor’s note is not needed.
- Equal pay for equal work for casual, part-time, contract, and temporary workers doing work similar to full-time workers.
- Equal pay for equal work for temp agency workers doing work similar to permanent employees.
- Temporary help agencies have to give workers one week’s written notice or pay in lieu of notice if a longer term assignment ends early.
- Forming a union was made easier for homecare workers, building service workers, and temp agency workers. An employer must now recognize a union if the majority of employees signs union cards.
- Misclassification of employees as “independent contractors” or “self-employed” is against the law. Employers are responsible for proving that an individual is not an employee.
- 3 weeks’ paid vacation after 5 years of working at the same company.
- Domestic or sexual violence leave of up to 10 individual days of leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if the worker or the worker’s child must deal with domestic or sexual violence, or the threat of such violence. The first 5 days of leave each year will be paid.
Our upcoming rights, set to take effect on January 1, 2019, are also at stake:
- $15 general minimum wage
- $14.10 minimum wage for students under 18
- $13.05 minimum wage for liquor servers
- Fairer Scheduling
- Workers will have the job protected right to refuse shifts if the employer gives less than 4 days’ (96 hours’) notice.
- Workers will have the job protected right to ask for a schedule or location change after working at a company for 3 months.
- 3 hours of pay for shift cancellation with less than 2 days’ (48 hours’) notice.
- 3 hours of pay for on-call workers that are not called in or work less than 3 hours.
Equal public holiday pay that is fairer to part-time workers was also won. However, businesses pressured the former Ontario Government to get rid of the new public holiday pay. Now we must get ready to win it back!
Stand with the Workers’ Action Centre to demand that Premier Doug Ford protect workers’ rights and strengthen labour law enforcement. When we fight together, we have collective power to gain fair working conditions in Ontario. Here’s how you can join the movement:
- When you have a problem at work, call us at 416-531-0778. All calls are free and confidential.
- Sign up for Action Alerts at the bottom of the page.
- Read and share information about your rights at work.
- Join and support the Fight for $15 and Fairness. Visit 15andFairness.org.
- Support the Workers’ Action Centre.
The Workers’ Action Centre has been fighting for fair employment for over 15 years. It’s a fight that has become more urgent with the rise in unstable, low-wage jobs. Workers’ Action Centre members, as well as the thousands of workers who call our phone line for help, face discrimination, unpaid wages, unsafe working conditions, and many more workplace problems.
Time and again, we spoke up about the outdated Employment Standards Act. In 2015, the government finally called for a review of Ontario’s labour laws. At that time, we launched the Fight for $15 and Fairness campaign, which has mobilized thousands of workers, community groups, unions, and other supporters. This grassroots movement for decent work won the better labour laws of Bill 148. Now we must defend Bill 148 as our $15 minimum wage is threatened, and fairer scheduling, personal emergency leave, and more may also be taken away. Join us!