This is a joint submission to the Consultation on Modernizing Canada’s Employment Insurance program from the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services. We emphasize the continued need for Canada Recovery Benefits now as the fourth wave of COVID-19 continues, and the urgency for permanent improvements to the Employment Insurance system in preparation for the next economic crisis or public health emergency.
This joint submission by the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, Workers’ Action Centre, and Parkdale Community Legal Services offers several recommendations to improve Bill 27, Working for Workers Act, 2021.
This joint submission to the OWRAC from the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services focuses on app-based companies’ use of misclassification to avoid their responsibility to gig workers. App-based workers have extremely low pay and unstable, dangerous jobs. We call on the Committee to recognize that gig workers are employees, not a new category of worker, and deserve protection under our basic employment standards. We put forward the demands of the Justice for Workers campaign — including paid sick days, a $20 minimum wage for all, and laws that protect all workers — as the way to improve wages and working conditions in the post-pandemic period.
Although the temporary Employment Insurance enhancements during COVID-19 are essential and welcomed, workers still need permanent improvements. The Inter-Provincial EI Working Group submitted crucial recommendations to the Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities. The recommendations fall under the following four categories: 1) better EI financing; 2) easier access for more workers; 3) increased benefits; and 4) improved supports and access to justice for EI claimants. Over 50 community and labour organizations across the country endorse this submission.
The special COVID-19 Employment Insurance and Recovery Benefits will soon run out for many. People are already struggling to make ends meet with these benefits and cannot do without them. The whole economy is also impacted as these benefits have sustained consumer spending at local businesses during COVID-19.
COVID-19 and its impacts are far from over. The government must extend the Canada Recovery Benefit, Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit and Employment Insurance until at least December 31, 2021 or until the pandemic is over. A permanently improved Employment Insurance system in terms of benefits and access is also needed.
This joint report from Parkdale Community Legal Services, Workers’ Action Centre, and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change (MWAC) addresses the lack of protection for temporary agency workers who do the most dangerous work for the least pay. The use of temporary agencies likely contributed to the spread of COVID-19 on Ontario farms. Research from MWAC found that the cause of infection and transmission in agricultural workers was poor housing and working conditions, which are controlled by agricultural employers (client companies). Ontario needs mandatory licensing of temporary help agencies and recruiters of migrant workers in order to better protect temporary workers.
Summary of findings of the online survey conducted by the Workers’ Action Centre to hear about the experiences people have had under COVID-19, and specifically the extent to which CERB met their needs, and how they will manage when CERB ends.
When the federal government transitions recipients of the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) onto a new Employment Insurance program in September 2020, following the principles outlined in this report will ensure that the new program does not leave any workers behind.
Public Health Officers across the country are telling people to stay home from work when sick. The federal government’s proposal for 10 days’ paid sick leave nation-wide is a crucial step to enable workers, particularly in the midst of the COVID recession, to go home or stay home from work when sick. Fight for $15 and Fairness, Workers’ Action Centre, and Parkdale Community Legal Services jointly offer these recommendations to effectively implement 10 paid sick days.
In our joint submission, Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services inform the government that Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, would increase precarious and low-waged work if passed. It would reduce protections for workers from excessive overtime hours and unpaid overtime premium pay. Also, construction workers within a number of public organizations would lose the protection of the construction industry collective agreement. These factors and more are proof that, contrary to the government’s claims, Bill 66 will fail to bring “good jobs” to the province.
In our submission, the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services urge the federal government to broaden the fair wage act to cover all government contracts and apply through sub-contracting chains. By setting a level playing field for employers bidding for government work, especially when such contracts are awarded on a low-bid basis, fair wage policies can help prevent a downward spiral in wages, benefits and working conditions.
Joint submission by the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services regarding Bill 47 that seeks to cancel the updates to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Labour Relations Act (LRA) recently won through Bill 148. The government is pushing Bill 47 through the legislative process despite little consultation with workers in precarious employment who depend on the ESA for protection. We recommend the complete withdrawal of Bill 47. Please download this sample letter and endorse our submission by Thursday, November 15, 2018 at 6:00 pm.
Joint submission by the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services regarding Bill 3 that will eventually require employers with 250 or more employees to make public what they pay their employees. To strengthen this bill, we recommend that all employers be required to comply with pay transparency immediately upon passage of Bill 3. Strong pay transparency requirements on employers are essential for empowering women workers, precarious workers, temp agency workers, racialized, indigenous, and disabled workers to access the new equal pay provisions that came into effect on April 1, 2018.
Submission in Response to Labour Program Questionnaire Concerning Modernizing Labour Standards under the Canada Labour Code
Joint response by the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services regarding the review of the Canada Labour Code insisting that workers employed in the federal jurisdiction receive at minimum the equivalent benefit, compensation and/or protection to that enjoyed by workers employed under provincial jurisdiction. We join in supporting this principle put forward by the Canadian Labour Congress and the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Many workers won’t have access to the new rights in The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 (Bill 148) because of special rules that exempt employers from complying with basic employment standards and prevent workers from unionizing. Please sign and submit this letter that calls to amend the process for review of exemptions to ensure it can close the gaps and raise the floor of minimum standards for the highest possible number of workers in Ontario. The deadline for written submissions is Monday, January 1, 2018.
The government announced on May 30, 2017 that it would review exemptions and special rules in the Employment Standards Act (ESA). Phase 1 of the review, launched October 18, 2017, is reviewing eight occupations with exemptions and special rules. The ESA should provide a floor of minimum standards for all, but exemptions prevent this objective, and disproportionately affect women, part-time, temporary, young, and racialized workers. This submission addresses the principles, criteria and process for review of exemptions and special rules and provides recommendations on particular exemptions under review. Please download a sample letter to endorse our submission.
Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017: Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
Joint submission by the Workers’ Action Centre, Parkdale Community Legal Services, and the Fight for $15 and Fairness Campaign to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 184: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. These are our recommendations to strengthen Bill 148 before its passing, especially in regards to the ability to unionize, new scheduling laws, equal pay for equal work, and termination pay or notice.
Joint submission by the Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services to the Ministry of Labour regarding Ontario’s Fair Wage Policy.
Joint submission by the Parkdale Community Legal Services, the $15 and Fairness Campaign and Workers’ Action Centre, to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs regarding Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Please consider endorsing our amendments to Bill 148 in your submission; download a sample letter that you can use for that purpose.
New report by Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services responds to the Ministry of Labour’s Changing Workplace Review Interim Report. Special Advisors are accepting submissions until October 14, 2016. Please consider endorsing this report in your submission; download a sample letter that you can edit.
Workers’ Action Centre, in association with Parkdale Community Legal Services, calls on the Ontario government to make Personal Emergency Leave (PEL) accessible to all workers. Ministry of Labour is accepting submissions on PEL until August 31 as part of the Changing Workplaces Review. Due to the exemption of small workplaces from existing PEL provisions, currently one in three workers in Ontario risk losing their job for taking a single unpaid day off to rest while sick or take care of a loved one.
Workers’ Action Centre, in association with Parkdale Community Legal Services, prepared recommendations for Ontario government’s Closing the Gender Gap Consultation.
An executive summary is now available for Still Working on the Edge: Rebuilding Decent Jobs from the Ground Up. The Ontario government has launched a review of the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act to address “the changing nature of modern workplaces”. Building on previous research, Workers’ Action Centre members spent the past year identifying key problems workers are facing in the labour market and developing priorities for change. This report brings workers’ voices, experiences and recommendations to this conversation, contributing knowledge that will be essential to updating Ontario’s labour legislation from the ground up.
The Ontario government has launched a review of the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act, during which it will undertake “consultations on the changing nature of modern workplaces”. Members of the Workers’ Action Centre have spent the past year, building upon previous research, identifying key problems workers are facing in the labour market and developing priorities for change. At this historic moment, WAC’s new report, Still Working on the Edge, brings workers’ voices, experiences and recommendations to this conversation, contributing knowledge that will be essential to updating Ontario’s labour legislation from the ground up. Download the Executive summary.
This is a brief summary about how the Stronger Workplaces Act will be implemented. It will bring changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA), Employment Protection for Foreign Nationals Act (Live-in Caregivers and Others), 2009 (EPFNA), Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and Workplace Safety and Insurance Act (WSIA)
In this joint submission to the Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, WAC joins with Parkdale Community Legal Services and Freedom 90 in calling on the government to raise the Ontario minimum wage to $14/hour.
Based on a survey of 520 workers in low-wage and precarious jobs, this study demonstrates that the lack of protection in Ontario workplaces leaves many workers in significant economic hardship. It is a world of work where wages, overtime and vacation goes unpaid and people work at less than minimum wage.
Submission to the Ministry of Labour Consultation on Foreign and Resident Employment Recruitment in Ontario
WAC, in association with the Caregivers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services, prepared recommendations to update employment standards to protect these vulnerable workers. Regulating recruitment practices and employment of foreign workers is essential. However, there are many other issues that need to be addressed to reduce the barriers that foreign temporary workers face in accessing their employment standards rights.
The Workers’ Action Centre and Parkdale Community Legal Services are recommending important amendments to Bill 139 to ensure that the Bill achieves its goal of fairness and protection for temporary agency workers.
WAC’s 82-page research report documents workers’ experiences of precarious work, and features stories from those who live with the grim daily realities of working on the edge. The report also proposes detailed and comprehensive policy recommendations, including reformed employer-practices, equality for all workers, amendments to the Employment Standards Act to cover temp agency workers, changes to minimum wage policy, and more effective enforcement of the Employment Standards Act.
In October 2005, as part of a Federal government review of the Canada Labour Code, WAC (in association with our partner the Employment Standards Working Group) prepared a submission calling for improvements. The Canada Labour Code regulates workplaces under federal regulation – for example, railways, banks, airlines. Much of the Canada Labour Code dates back to 1965 – yet our workplaces have changed radically since then.
The Workers’ Action Centre had its early roots in the Contingent Workers Project. Their study and survey was conducted from October to December 1999. It was initiated to begin to understand the issues that face lower waged temporary workers, contract workers, self-employed and part-time workers, and multiple job holders in Toronto.