The Ford government has proposed new workplace legislation for app-based workers in Bill 88, which brings in less protection for so-called gig workers than Ontario’s basic labour laws! This bill does not ensure basic labour protection for workers at companies like Uber, Skip the Dishes and DoorDash. Instead, Bill 88 undermines gig workers’ fight to be treated as employees as the new legislation only guarantees minimum wage when doing active delivery and not when they are waiting for their next delivery. In reality, food delivery workers can spend up to 35-50% of their time waiting in between actual deliveries. This means a worker could be doing a 10-hour shift but would only be paid for 6 hours under the new legislation’s definition of “actively engaged.” Please sign the Gig Workers’ Bill of Rights to show your support.
The conditions of digital platform work are not new. App-based companies are just the latest to use the bad business model of misclassifying workers as self-employed or independent contractors. Though gig work is promoted as flexible work where the worker has complete control, in reality it is the company that has control over pay, rates of pay, when assignments are offered, and can punish or fire workers through deactivation. The lived experience of workers clearly shows that they are in fact employees.
In a recent Ontario Labour Board case, Saurabh Sharma, a bike courier for Uber Eats, filed a complaint about $200 clawed back from his meagre earnings last August. The Ministry of Labour ruled that Sharma was an employee entitled to over $1,000 in unpaid wages, including vacation pay, for all of his working hours . And yet Labour Minister McNaughton’s announcement of a $15 gig worker minimum wage only for “engaged” hours of work amounts to less pay than if gig workers were treated as employees! It’s no surprise Uber Eats wants to appeal the ruling that guarantees Saurabh’s basic entitlements.
It’s urgent that we all support gig workers. Please call your MPP to say no to Bill 88. Another simple way to show solidarity is to participate in Order-In Days over March Break. When you order through an app, be sure to let the delivery person know about Gig Workers United so that they can join the movement to #MakeGigWorkDecentWork!
Don’t Let the Future of Work be Gig-ified
Bill 88 is only the first step in the Ford government’s plan to carve out gig workers from our basic labour laws and create a new, lower standard of rights. This is extremely worrying as lesser protections for some workers would seriously impact all workers, no matter our sector, race, gender or immigration status. Since Bill 88 does not make gig workers employees, the door begins to open for employers in all industries to also turn their employees into gig workers without full protection. The burden of fighting for employee status against large, international app-based companies would fall onto individual workers willing and able to challenge their precarious working conditions.
In July 2021, Min, a Workers’ Action Centre member spoke about his experience as a gig worker: “I’ve been driving for Uber since 2016… No matter if it is windy or rainy, I start early and come back late, go out at 6 am and come home at 8 or 9 pm during weekdays, and work until 12 midnight on weekends. It is hard work. However, my average daily net income is only about $100 after deducting all expenses. At the same time, the CEO of Uber, in 2019 alone, made $53 million!”
Sign up for an in-person Building Worker Power workshop!
We need Justice for Workers and to get it we need to build our collective power! Sign up for a workshop to learn how to talk about decent work with your family and friends, coworkers, and even your MPP. We’ll be holding in-person workshops in different languages on the following dates and locations:
Register now, invite your friends and see you there!