TORONTO – Tuesday morning’s announcement of new legislation by the Ontario government would greatly help millions of workers and their families who are struggling with precarious, insecure work, says Unifor.
“The announcement this morning is a bold first step to modernize Ontario’s employment laws,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “The government has demonstrated that it has heard the concerns of Ontario’s most vulnerable workers and is now committed to taking action.”
Dias said that while the proposed actions could be strengthened on a few of the priorities set out by Ontario workers and their unions, changes like increasing the minimum wage to $15 over 18 months, extending Personal Emergency Leave to all workers with two paid days and equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal workers will make a significant difference for millions of Ontarians – particularly for women, young workers, racialized workers, workers with disabilities and workers from newcomer communities who predominantly are hired in precarious jobs.
Across North America, governments are recognizing that a $15 minimum wage is a starting point for having decent work. Dias said that the union is thrilled that Ontario will be the second province in Canada to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Naureen Rizvi, Ontario Regional Director present for today’s announcement, expressed that Unifor is also heartened that the government has recognized that both good jobs and strong businesses are essential for a thriving economy and part of creating decent work for Ontarians.
“We’re very pleased that the government has re-affirmed a worker’s right to join a union through card-based certification in certain sectors,” said Rizvi. “Unions are the best tool that working people have to improve their own lives and win fairness at work.”
Unifor looks forward to the details of the proposed legislation later this week and will be pressing for additional improvements to strengthen reforms that recognize the struggles facing Ontario workers.
Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers, half of which are in Ontario, with 160,000. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union merged.