This Labour Day, we’ll be celebrating new rights for federally regulated workers starting on September 1st. Workers in jobs like trucking, rail and air transportation, banking, and telecommunications will have 5 days of personal leave, 3 of them paid, as well as fairer scheduling rules and protections against lowering wages and benefits after contract flipping. Equal pay for equal work will be introduced in 2020. These improved labour laws will benefit almost 1 million workers across Canada, and it was our movement in Ontario that inspired the changes.
When we organize together, it makes a difference. Ontario workers made our voices heard as we demanded fairness in our workplaces. First, the provincial government took notice, as we pushed them to bring in a $14 minimum wage, personal leaves for thousands who never had access to them before, and more, which they finally made law in 2018. In Ontario, we made great gains through Bill 148, but just one year later Premier Ford’s government took the province backward by cancelling our $15 minimum wage and fair scheduling as well as taking away our 2 paid sick days and equal pay for equal work rules.
Now the federal government has responded to our call for decent work. Thousands of workers living with low pay, no benefits, and unstable or even dangerous work have been waiting a long time for these new rights. They will introduce a higher standard of labour laws for federally regulated workers across the country. By seeing gains of these rights at the federal level, it will inspire us to keep fighting for decent work for all in our provinces.
If you are in Toronto and want to get more involved with the fight for decent work, please join the Workers’ Action Centre and the Fight for $15 & Fairness at the Labour Day Parade on Monday, September 2 at the gates to Trinity Bellwoods Park between 9:30 am and 12:30 pm. We’ll be doing outreach and standing up for Migrant Rights* and Decent Work for All — that includes the thousands of federally regulated workers in each province and territory. Hope to see you there!