Poll after poll shows that the majority of the public disapproves of the Conservative government’s huge cuts to education, health, legal aid services, and labour rights. Premier Ford felt public pressure to shuffle his key leaders in Cabinet including the Minister of Labour. MPP Laurie Scott is out and MPP Monte McNaughton is now in. But it is very doubtful that the new Minister will respect decent work and fair wages. In fact, MPP McNaughton has pushed for lesser rights and weaker union representation for workers in the past .
The reality is, the enforcement of our rights at work has crumbled in the hands of the Ford government. Within weeks of coming into office, this government stopped proactive inspections of workplaces, which was proven to be the most effective way for the Ministry of Labour to recover workers’ unpaid wages. Then earlier this month, Toronto Star revealed the government’s plans to get rid of 75 of the employment standards officers who investigate the abuse happening in our workplaces . This is on top of an 11 million dollar cut to the Ministry of Labour, which will impact services, staffing, and resources. Now, in place of real proactive enforcement, the government is mainly focusing on employers auditing themselves by using digital tools to check whether or not they are following basic rights in Ontario!
Regardless of who the new Minister of Labour is, it is clear that Ontario workers can no longer trust the Conservative government to have our best interests at heart after they took so many protections and rights away from us. That is why it is so important that we grow our own power as workers to hold bad bosses accountable. Knowing our rights is the first step in doing just that. If you need to brush up on your rights at work, check out these free factsheets, which we offer in several languages. They can help you build confidence to stand up for yourself, your co-workers and workers across Ontario.
At the Workers’ Action Centre, we have organized for many years now to let workers know about our rights and what we can do when employers disrespect those rights. We take action to help workers win back stolen wages and to speak out against other violations such as harassment, which is a growing problem in our workplaces .
Below are some of the newest workers’ rights factsheets. Please read and share them with workers in your community.
- Checklist for Workers (also in Chinese, Spanish, and Tamil)
- Working for Cash?
- Temp Agency Workers
We’re working hard to make these factsheets available in more languages soon, so keep checking our website! In the meantime, don’t hesitate to call our Workers’ Rights Hotline at (416) 531-0778 (Toll-free: 1-855-531-0778) if you have a problem at your job. Just ask for help in your language and one of our caseworkers will be glad to assist you. Our decent work leaders are also offering free workers’ rights workshops across Ontario. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to hold a Know Your Rights workshop in your community.