JFAAP Statement on the announcement by the Ontario government about changes to labour laws and minimum wage increase

  Congratulations to our movement! We still have much to do!

Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP) warmly congratulates the 15 & Fairness Campaign, Workers’ Action Centre, the labour movement in Ontario and tens of thousands of community members in Jane Finch and across the province for winning major improvements in support of workers’ rights in this province.

The Ontario government has announced a series of reforms to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) as well as increases to the minimum wage rate. According to the announcement, Minimum wage will be increased to $15/hour as follows: October 1, 2017: $11.60 (The Consumer Price Index (CPI) adjustment); January 1, 2018: $14.00; October 1, 2018: Adjusted by the CPI increase; January 1, 2019: $15.00; October 1, 2019 and every year following: Adjusted by the CPI increase.

Other changes include:

  • Equal pay for part-time, casual, temporary and contract workers, including temporary agency workers
  • Fairer scheduling
  • An extra week’s paid vacation (after 5 years of service)
  • 10 emergency leave days for all workers, two (2) of which will be paid and no doctor’s note will be required for any worker taking emergency leave
  • Protection for contract service workers against contract flipping in the building services sector and publicly-funded institutions (like colleges and universities)
  • A modest – but important – extension in card-based certification for union organizing
  • Other measures to make it easier for workers to join unions
  • An increase in public staffing resources for enforcement

Many of these changes will have positive impacts on workers’ living and working conditions.  Our movement needed and deserved such achievements. For over a decade, we have been struggling very hard around this issue and it is good to know that our collective efforts are having some effect.

There are many problems that the government’s modifications do not address:

  • Why must workers wait until January 2019 to earn &15/hour while the cost of living will be much higher by then? Families of over 1.5 million workers in the province need this now in order to house and feed their children.
  • Why have not domestic workers/caregivers, agricultural and horticultural workers and many others been included in many of these improvements? One of the cruellest aspects of Canada’s economies is the state of workers in these fields, many of whom migrant workers from other countries, that are taking care of upper middle class families’ elders and children and harvest and process our food without human rights and benefits.

A message to the Business Lobbying Groups such as Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Restaurants Canada, The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses

For years, all businesses and corporations have profited extensively from low wages and lack of protection of workers’ rights; temp agencies and sub-contractors have been getting away with violation of workers’ internationally recognized rights. Ontario became “Rich” while millions of people in this province became poorer and more disadvantaged than ever before. Communities like Jane-Finch – working class, mostly non-unionized, racialized, underemployed and super-exploited – have seen their socio-economic conditions and living standards deteriorating day by day for the past three decades. No levels of government or business “community” including any of these Business Lobbying Groups has ever done anything positive for us, for our children, for removing systemic barriers, for better jobs, working conditions and higher wages! Whatever we have, we’ve fought hard for it! We’ve been fighting on our streets along with our allies like $15 & Fairness campaign for years, and now that we have achieved some improvements we are not going to allow these profit-seeking lobbyists to take that away through threats and fear-mongering propaganda. Nevertheless, our provincial and federal governments will make sure that there will still be plenty of profit for you guys to go around. So, Back off!

To our community and allies

Congratulations again! We celebrate today, but there is still much to do, and our struggles against all forms of oppression, poverty, inequality and exploitation will continue!

Jane Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP)

June 1, 2017

Email: info@jfaap.com

Website:  www.jfaap.com

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