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RCO





Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject: far left turn for Ontario's labour laws planned ? Reply with quote

( wynne is sounding more and more like the NDP each day , these reforms sound like something that would be coming from an ndp government not a liberal government , talk about a far left turn for this government )



Ontario plans big boost to minimum wage, update of labour laws: Cohn


Cabinet will soon decide on the biggest overhaul to Ontario's labour law in a generation — raising minimum wage up to $15 an hour, boosting private sector unionization and targeting companies that rely unfairly on part-time or contract work.



Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says he wants “to rebalance what has become an unbalanced relationship where the employer holds all the cards."


By Martin Regg CohnOntario Politics Columnist

Sat., May 13, 2017


Sweeping labour reforms — and a dramatic rise in the minimum wage up to $15 an hour — could soon target companies relying unfairly on part-time or contract work that deprives many Ontarians of decent wages from steady employment.

Ontario’s Liberal government is debating a comprehensive update to labour laws that would boost private sector unionization, which has been declining at the same time as so-called precarious employment has left more and more people — middle class and working class — bouncing from one job to the next.

The provincial cabinet will decide next week how far to take the package of reforms spearheaded by Labour Minister Kevin Flynn after a two-year review, Changing Workplaces, headed by outside experts. But it could have far-reaching effects for people of all ages and all walks of life who worry about vacation time, job security and wage transparency as temporary workers are increasingly treated like second-class citizens.



Government sources say most elements are falling into place after public hearings and private lobbying that has pitted union demands against a backlash from the corporate sector — with the governing Liberals caught in the middle. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because cabinet deliberations are supposed to remain confidential.

In an interview, Flynn hinted strongly at the direction he is taking if he can win support from his cabinet colleagues. And with an election looming next year, the Liberals are also laying the groundwork for a campaign battle against the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, who have previously derided unions and opposed a higher minimum wage.

But as more workers face a future of instability and unpredictability, the government’s goal is “to rebalance what has become an unbalanced relationship where the employer holds all the cards,” Flynn told me.

“You can’t justify treating that part-time worker any differently than a full-time worker.”

Flynn argued that unionization is closely tied to higher living standards and employment protections, both of which have eroded in a changing workplace and world. The rise of franchise businesses and fragmented workplaces has made it much harder to organize workers into a union with rules dating from decades ago.

Among the major proposals going to cabinet before a public announcement later this month:

•Reducing the hurdles to unionization in key sectors of the economy, affecting groups such as cleaning staff and home-care workers. Unlike traditional factories that lend themselves to union huddles and secret ballots, these workplaces are hard for organized labour to penetrate because they are small or scattered. The reforms would enable union organizers to sign up a majority of members using card-based certification, reducing the risk of intimidation by employers ahead of a formal vote because membership “is a constitutional right that all Canadians have,” Flynn argues.


•Reversing the onus on part-time work, by forcing employers to clearly demonstrate why it’s not a full-time permanent job. Too many companies now disguise regular employees as independent contractors or part-timers to avoid paying them full wages and benefits. “If someone is doing what any average person would construe as a doing a full-time job … that’s not a contractor,” Flynn says. “That may be somebody posing as a contractor.”


•Boosting vacation pay from the minimum two weeks under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act to the three weeks that is standard in most industrialized countries. And tightening up the language in labour law to eliminate loopholes used by employers trying to dodge their responsibilities.


Beyond the legal reforms, the Liberals plan on a major boost to the minimum wage starting this year, jumping from the current $11.40 an hour to as high as $15 when it is fully phased in. A wage hike was not part of the Changing Workplaces mandate, and is being announced separately — but it is very much linked to the reforms.

Flynn notes that any worker still judges his worth by his wage, no matter the working conditions. Back in 2014, the Liberals announced with great fanfare that they had come up with a new mechanism to set a fair base wage of $11 an hour, with regular adjustments for inflation, which would insulate the process from political pressures while putting Ontario ahead of the pack.

But the labour minister and other government sources acknowledge that the world and the workplace have changed even since then. Some American states and Canadian provinces have set minimum wages far higher as the debate has leapfrogged Ontario, which now lags.

The pending reforms would be the first major overhaul in a generation. The NDP government of Bob Rae toughened up labour laws by banning replacement workers during strikes, but the Mike Harris Tories pointedly rolled that back — also removing basic union rights dating from the previous Progressive Conservative government of Bill Davis.

Now, Flynn wants to level the playing field, recognizing that neither labour nor business will be satisfied. Loath to relive the ideological battles of past years, he is leaning against any ban on so-called “scab workers” for fear of shifting too much power to unions to shut down companies during disputes.

Nor is the government likely to force franchises to be organized as a single bloc by unions. A franchise head office typically argues that it can’t enforce compliance with employment standards by the private companies that hold individual franchises, even though they can dictate the cut of french fries. Flynn says he heard from all sides, and concluded that he will count on compliance with the law, without restructuring franchise arrangements.

The labour minister expects unions to be publicly critical but privately content with the gains in any final announcement. He is braced for pushback from the private sector and the business press, but dismisses their warnings that higher unionization and labour standards will drive investment out of Ontario.

The provincial economy is booming and there is money to be made from supplying a market of 14 million people. He notes that many business owners who demand flexibility to hire and fire part-timers while paying them less admit to personal frustration that their own grown children live at home because they can’t find steady work.



Martin Regg Cohn’s political column appears Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. mcohn@thestar.ca , Twitter: @reggcohn

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/05/13/ontario-plans-big-boost-to-minimum-wage-work-conditions-cohn.html
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

May 17, 2017

Wynne’s hard Left turn: Liberal labour plan kills jobs of others to save their own

Brian Lilley
Rebel Co-Founder


With her personal approval rating at 12 per cent and her Liberal Party sitting at 28 per cent support while Patrick Brown’s PCs sit at 41 per cent, Kathleen Wynne has to do something to try to win the 2018 provincial election. She’s desperate.



So what are her ideas?

A column by Martin Regg Cohn, published in the official Liberal newspaper the Toronto Star, lays out some of those plans and it isn’t good.

The plan to be presented to cabinet and the party before going public is said to include making it easier to unionize, dramatically increasing the minimum wage, boosting paid vacation and paid sick days and forcing employers to justify why a job is part time instead of full time.

This Liberal plan is about tilting the balance of power in a big way towards employees and away from employers, so groups representing employers are rightly furious.

One such group, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business representing 42,000 small businesses employing 500,000 Ontarians, points out the reforms being considered come on top of the increase in EI premiums and CPP increases brought about by Trudeau’s Liberals.

The CFIB says it will simply be too much.


“Labour reforms, such as the ones being discussed in the media, would devastate small businesses and as a result, would kill jobs and slow down economic growth.”

But slowing down economic growth may be a small price to pay for Wynne and her Liberals if it gets them back in power.

These policies seek to appeal to a dedicated section of left-wing voters that see government as the answer to every problem and my fear is, it might work.

We need to push back with facts. Burdening employers with layers of increased costs won’t provide more jobs but less. As costs rise, part time jobs disappear and full time jobs become part time as employers find ways to deal with this.

Ontarians need to know that if Wynne’s plans go through it is about protecting one job and one job only… hers.

https://www.therebel.media/kathleen_wynne_s_hard_left_turn_liberal_plan_kills_the_jobs_of_others_to_save_their_own
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

( according to the editorial , the union policy is a former " Bob Rae " policy which must of been eliminated by Mike Harris , yeah we need to bring former ndp policy back from the dead , seriously wynne is losing it )



Ontario should seize chance to lead on labour reform: Editorial


There will no doubt be alarmist voices calling on the labour minister to water down his proposed protections. They should not be allowed to win the day.


As the Ontario Liberal cabinet weighs proposed labour reforms this week, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn can expect some significant pushback, much of which is predictable.


By Star Editorial Board

Mon., May 15, 2017



For the last two years, as the Wynne government has grappled with Ontario’s antiquated labour laws, it has found itself caught in the crossfire of two stalwart and passionate factions: those who want better protections for workers and those who warn such protections would unduly harm business and thus the economy.

As the Liberal cabinet considers a sweeping set of proposed labour reforms this week, it of course must be careful of the burdens these policies might place on business. But it ought to bear in mind, too, the overwhelming evidence that decent work and a decent wage in no way preclude, and in fact may even be necessary to, a thriving economy. If the cabinet shows courage and approves the proposals before it, Ontario can lead on a defining challenge of our time.

The problem of the so-called precariat has been ignored for too long. Precarious workers, an increasing number of whom are in low-wage, temporary jobs, have been largely left behind by governments that have failed to keep pace with the rapid, technology-driven evolution of the workplace. This is perhaps particularly true in Ontario, where labour laws have remained unchanged for decades and our minimum wage continues to lag behind many other jurisdictions.

As reported by Martin Regg Cohn in the Star on Saturday, the proposals now before cabinet, the result of the province’s two-year Changing Workplaces review, would go a long way toward bridging the widening gaps in worker protections and ensuring that everyone in the province is paid a decent wage. The government should not allow the overblown warnings of some in the business community to get in the way.

The province, for instance, is considering a number of overdue changes to the labour code that would eliminate loopholes that allow employers to legally violate workers’ rights.

Crucially, the proposed reforms include expanding the legal definition of “employee” to make it harder for companies to classify workers as “independent contractors” and thus deny people who work full time the appropriate pay and benefits. Participants in the so-called sharing economy, in particular, are often exploited in this way, toiling full time, but receiving no benefits and earning less than minimum wage.

Another proposal would make it easier for certain sectors, such as cleaning staff and home-care workers, to form unions. According to Regg Cohn, the province is considering restoring a prescient policy of the Bob Rae government, which allowed organizers to sign up members using union cards. Under the current rules, employees can organize only by voting in person. But in our increasingly fragmented workplace, this is often highly impractical. The result is that in many cases those most in need of protection are least able to establish solidarity and assert their rights.

Perhaps most important, the province is considering boosting the minimum wage from the meager current rate of $11.40 per hour to $15 per hour. Those earning minimum wage today who are lucky enough to work 35 hours per week take in an annual salary of $20,748, well below the poverty line and nowhere near what is required to live in a city like Toronto. This, at a time when the proportion of the workforce earning only the minimum is rapidly growing.


As the cabinet weighs these proposed reforms this week the labour minister can expect some significant pushback, much of which is predictable.

Critics, for example, continue to argue that strengthening collective bargaining and labour protections will drive investment out of the province and constrain job growth.

But the evidence on this is far from clear. Indeed, research from the International Monetary Fund, among others, indicates that not only are the fears exaggerated, but robust worker protections are key to a strong and sustainable economy. In any case, nothing should eclipse the duty of government to protect the basic rights of workers.

Critics have been even more vocal in insisting that increasing the minimum wage will kill too many jobs. But while some studies have shown these hikes can have an impact on employment, the effect is marginal. And while some of the costs to business are no doubt passed on to consumers, the overwhelming balance of evidence indicates the benefits far outweigh the costs.

For example, in U.S. states such as New York and California, which have significantly increased the minimum wage, we are seeing that not only are such hikes not the job-killers they’re purported to be, but they actually can help business by increasing worker motivation and reducing turnover. They can help the economy by increasing the spending power of a large segment of the workforce. And they can reduce strain on governments by raising many people out of poverty.

There will no doubt be alarmist voices calling on the labour minister to water down his proposed reforms. They should not be allowed to win the day. On worker protections, Ontario has for too long lagged. It now has a real opportunity to lead. For the rights of workers and the health of our economy, the government should seize it


https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2017/05/15/ontario-should-seize-chance-to-lead-on-labour-reform-editorial.html
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lets set aside the potential proposal itself.

Its looking likely that the Premier will hang on and likely be the leader of the Liberals contesting the election in a bout a year.

If you are 10 - 15 points behind the PCs and PCs voters seem to be motivated to come out and vote this time around, logic would dictate that the OLP would look left and try and present themselves as the only viable alternative to the "Anti-Union" PCs.

The NDP isn't going to be able to form government largely due to fact that they are unable to secure significant support in the 905 belt aside from Bramalea—Gore—Malton & Oshawa. Expect the OLP to hammer that fact home, a vote for the NDP in the 905s is a vote for Patrick Brown.

If the OLP wants to stop a PC majority going after NDP voters who are Union members is the path of least resistance.

Over the next six months the OLP needs traction on something, they need to change the agenda.

Expect the political equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall to be the theme over the next while.
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 3:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Lets set aside the potential proposal itself.

Its looking likely that the Premier will hang on and likely be the leader of the Liberals contesting the election in a bout a year.

If you are 10 - 15 points behind the PCs and PCs voters seem to be motivated to come out and vote this time around, logic would dictate that the OLP would look left and try and present themselves as the only viable alternative to the "Anti-Union" PCs.

The NDP isn't going to be able to form government largely due to fact that they are unable to secure significant support in the 905 belt aside from Bramalea—Gore—Malton & Oshawa. Expect the OLP to hammer that fact home, a vote for the NDP in the 905s is a vote for Patrick Brown.

If the OLP wants to stop a PC majority going after NDP voters who are Union members is the path of least resistance.

Over the next six months the OLP needs traction on something, they need to change the agenda.

Expect the political equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall to be the theme over the next while.


I guess but another way of looking at it , is that Wynne has always truly been much more left wing in her political beliefs than she has been publically . and these various changes being announced are a way for her to be more open about them .

if these changes really do go thru it would make her one of the most left wing liberal premiers Ontario has seen , even getting close to as left wing as Bob Rae . and she's even bringing back some of his failed union policies , truly terrifying


but I do agree they appear to be looking for soft ndp / liberal swing voters especially in Toronto area
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No question,
The Premier has been more left of center than her predecessor.

The issue is when I look at the above it looks more like political trolling than sound policy.

The "15 dollar minimum wage" is always a way to get Conservatives to lose their minds, if the goal of this exercise is to make the PCs look anti-worker, I would imagine the pending PC response to this "proposal" will likely be repackaged by the OLP to accomplish exactly that.
Bugs





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$15 an hour minimum wage on top of sky-rocketing electricity rates should just about kill any chance Ontario has of reclaiming any industrial jobs.

And then there's the mountains of debt ...

Tell the young people to find a new province ...
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
No question,
The Premier has been more left of center than her predecessor.

The issue is when I look at the above it looks more like political trolling than sound policy.

The "15 dollar minimum wage" is always a way to get Conservatives to lose their minds, if the goal of this exercise is to make the PCs look anti-worker, I would imagine the pending PC response to this "proposal" will likely be repackaged by the OLP to accomplish exactly that.



but will this plan actually work ? I seem to remember in 2006 and 2008 , the liberals pushed hard for ndp votes federally but weren't really able to get many to vote liberal due to Jack Laytons appeal . andrea horwath has a lot of personal appeal ( highest personal numbers of the 3 leaders ) and her 20 or so mpp's are fairly well likely and such in there own ridings , some have been winning them for a while


I can't really see the Ontario ndp doing much worse than 20% of the vote , they've been pooling around there for a while . with pc's seemingly stable at low 40's , the liberals would need the ndp to drop to 10% of the vote to even tie the pc's , somehow that doesn't seem that likely

also the reason why the Ontario ndp aren't winning the 905 , is that far left politics don't really sell in the 905 . there is no reason to suspect a far left turn by wynne would be that popular in the suburbs , which tend to vote for moderate centrist parties . York region for example has never elected an ndp mpp . its just not a radically left wing area
RCO





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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:
$15 an hour minimum wage on top of sky-rocketing electricity rates should just about kill any chance Ontario has of reclaiming any industrial jobs.

And then there's the mountains of debt ...

Tell the young people to find a new province ...



its a myth that minimum wage increases create new jobs , a lot of the fast food chains are already installing or looking at installing automatic payment machines . most mcdonalds already have them and they've cut back on cashiers now . I seem to remember reading Wendy's also plans to do the same . and others will no doubt follow

so there is going to be less jobs available for cashiers , those who have one will get paid a bit more but overall the number of jobs for cashiers is likely to shrink dramatically if this goes thru . so this plan is not going to improve the job market or make it easier for a student to find a part time job , as the job may no longer exist


a lot of businesses here are already struggling , many are resorting to hiring high school students as they can paid them a bit less but I highly doubt they'd survive long term at $15 an hour , there not making enough money as it is
Bugs





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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cosmostein wrote:
Lets set aside the potential proposal itself.

Its looking likely that the Premier will hang on and likely be the leader of the Liberals contesting the election in a bout a year.

If you are 10 - 15 points behind the PCs and PCs voters seem to be motivated to come out and vote this time around, logic would dictate that the OLP would look left and try and present themselves as the only viable alternative to the "Anti-Union" PCs.

The NDP isn't going to be able to form government largely due to fact that they are unable to secure significant support in the 905 belt aside from Bramalea—Gore—Malton & Oshawa. Expect the OLP to hammer that fact home, a vote for the NDP in the 905s is a vote for Patrick Brown.

If the OLP wants to stop a PC majority going after NDP voters who are Union members is the path of least resistance.

Over the next six months the OLP needs traction on something, they need to change the agenda.

Expect the political equivalent of throwing spaghetti at the wall to be the theme over the next while.


I think that Wynne has already won an election that she thought she'd probably lose, and that frames her decision. So she is going into the election by building a funeral pyre or sorts. That's not an entirely good metaphor. But let's look at the strategic considerations.

She could win or lose. If she wins, she has a whole new set of problems, that is dealing with the consequences of her previous injudiciousness as she scrambled to get elected. They will walk back the promises, keeping only one or two highly symbolic but inexpensive parts of their laws. Like the $15 minimum wage. (Idiots!) And they will deal with the jeers. What can the PCs say, since they agree with cutbacks?

More likely she will lose, and if she loses, she has left Brown with the problem of taking away benefits on a large scale. He won't be able to 'walk back' promises, he will have to change legislation! And the media are almost certainly going to be on the Liberal side.

To explore the darkness -- what happens if/when interest rates rise? They are rolling debt over really cheaply at the moment, but if they have to pay 3%+, the interest costs will start to escalate dramatically. Interest payments will rise from the government's 4th biggest expense, and put a squeeze on education and health care. Mmmmm. Not so good a position to be in.

Destiny is shaping us up for another "Mike Harris" moment. Which the Liberals love, because it puts the government into opposition with the civil service, and there are all kinds of possibilities of mischief.

So, from a certain point of view, Wynne has found a winning line of policy regardless of the election results. The only problem is that it's tremendously destructive of the society's private resources. It will make us all poorer.

It's a sobering thought. Government officials, elected or appointed, all seem to share the same idea of money, as if it is plentiful and cheap, and their job is to spend it and that is what keeps the economy going. In fact, they are spending it in a way that makes us generally poorer. And they are incapable of seeing that. These are the people who are planning our future.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bugs wrote:

More likely she will lose, and if she loses, she has left Brown with the problem of taking away benefits on a large scale. He won't be able to 'walk back' promises, he will have to change legislation! And the media are almost certainly going to be on the Liberal side.


I don't think Patrick Brown is going to have an issue being Mr. No.
There is no chance that an Ontario PC party ever wins over the public service sector so why even bother with the perception.

My expectation within six months of any potential PC majority is a slash and burn of much of the OLP non-sense over the last ten years, anything less than that would be a massive disappointment.

The Public sector in Ontario grew nearly 30% from 2003 - 2013 based on StatsCans numbers compared to Quebec which grew around half that, I don't see any issue with walking it back to even 2010 levels,

The folks in opposition and at the CBC will have a bird and that is to be expected, however they are going to have a bird anyway so we may as well make it worth their while.
cosmostein





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PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RCO wrote:

but will this plan actually work ? I seem to remember in 2006 and 2008 , the liberals pushed hard for ndp votes federally but weren't really able to get many to vote liberal due to Jack Laytons appeal . andrea horwath has a lot of personal appeal ( highest personal numbers of the 3 leaders ) and her 20 or so mpp's are fairly well likely and such in there own ridings , some have been winning them for a while


I don't think it has as much to do with winning NDP seats as it does trying to tap into NDP support in ridings they finished third.

Ridings like Durham, Oak Ridges—Markham, Burlington, Halton, Brant, and even a stronghold like St. Catharines all had strong NDP third place finishes. If OLP voters even 20% in each riding go CPC the OLP being able to secure some traditional NDP vote may allow them to sneak through.
RCO





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PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ontario Liberals to unveil sweeping labour reforms Tuesday

Premier Kathleen Wynne is set to announce measures including a higher minimum wage, more paid vacation time, greater employee protections and removal of barriers to unionization.


Andrew Francis Wallace,Toronto Star file photo

Premier Kathleen Wynne hopes to strike a balance in proposed workplace reforms to ensure they are acceptable to both employees and employers. The measures are not expected to be introduced in the legislature until the fall.



Hamilton Spectator
By Robert Benzie


Premier Kathleen Wynne is set to unveil dramatic labour law reforms, including greater employee protections, a push toward a $15-an-hour minimum wage, more paid vacation time and measures to make it easier for workers to unionize.

On Tuesday, Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn will launch the Liberal government's formal response to the Changing Workplaces Review, which made 173 recommendations on improving job conditions for Ontarians.

Although the province will not immediately adopt all of the proposals from the 419-page review prepared by special advisers C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray, it will serve as the template for changes.

Sources say Wynne wants to strike a balance in the reforms — which will not be introduced in the legislature until the fall session — to ensure they are acceptable to both employees and employers.

"Ontario businesses have never been better at creating wealth, but ensuring those benefits are shared widely and fairly, that seems to be getting more difficult," the premier said in a major speech last month in Hamilton.

"We must do more than simply protect people's wages and their ability to earn a good living. We must work to create a fair economy that provides opportunity and security for everyone," Wynne said.

"It means fair workplaces with decent benefits; workplaces where employers meet their obligations to their workers; and it means good pensions," she said, noting she led the way in persuading other premiers and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to boost the Canada Pension Plan.

"The changing nature of work is leaving some people vulnerable. They're working contract to contract or they're otherwise dealing with an unstable or precarious work situation. They can be let go with no warning as a result; some people can slip into poverty."

To address that, the Liberals want to ensure that Ontario workers earn equal pay for equal work, regardless of their full-time, part-time or temporary employee status.

The aim is to encourage employers to hire permanent staff instead of relying upon contract workers. The government wants to end loopholes that enable companies to claim that de facto full-time workers are independent contractors to avoid paying them better wages and benefits.

Although the Liberals plan to reduce the barriers to unionization in many sectors, they are unlikely to ban replacement "scab" workers as the NDP briefly did while in office a quarter-century ago.

The Changing Workplaces Review, released last Tuesday, recommended that, with some exceptions, farm workers, nannies, and legal, dental, medical and architectural professionals be allowed to unionize.

It also suggested employees in fast food and retail outlets should be able to organize in "multi-employer bargaining" units to give workers at competing burger restaurants and chain stores more clout.

"For example, if employers and franchisees in restaurants, retail, fast food and other specified sectors become part of a collective bargaining regime as single employers, this could lead to some natural expansion towards multi-employer sectoral bargaining in those areas," the review said.

The labour minister strongly favours unions signing up members using card-based certification, which reduces the risk of workers being intimidated by their bosses into not joining a guild.

"That is a constitutional right that all Canadians have," Flynn said this month.

As part of a new Workplace Rights Act, the Liberals are also expected to expand minimum annual vacation from two weeks to three, increase the fines for employers who cheat workers out of their wages, and set up a confidential tip line to report bad bosses.

Wynne's reforms are the most significant in decades. In the early 1990s, NDP premier Bob Rae beefed up labour laws only to have his Progressive Conservative successor, Mike Harris, water them down.

Even though the Changing Workplaces Review did not call for a $15 hourly minimum wage, the province wants to gradually raise it to that from the current $11.40 beginning this year.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has long been calling for a $15 minimum wage, and with an election just over a year away, Wynne wants to shore up the Liberals' left flank.

At the same time, the governing party wants to force Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown to take a stand on labour reforms that are opposed by many business groups, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

In a break from his PC predecessors, Brown has been trying to steer the Tories to the political centre by courting some union leaders, but he may risk offending his party's base if he embraces labour-friendly Liberal policies.

Tuesday's announcement in Toronto comes in the final week of the legislative session before MPPs rise for the summer break, and against the backdrop of Thursday's byelection in Sault Ste. Marie.

http://www.thespec.com/news-st.....s-tuesday/
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PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Province to raise minimum wage, update labour laws Tuesday: Wynne


Jessica Smith Cross, THE CANADIAN PRESS

First posted: Monday, May 29, 2017 04:53 PM EDT | Updated: Monday, May 29, 2017 09:13 PM EDT



TORONTO — The benefits of Ontario’s renewed economic growth are not shared evenly across the province, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday as she planned to announce a raise to minimum wage as well as much anticipated changes to labour laws.

Wynne and Labour Minister Kevin Flynn are scheduled to make the announcements Tuesday morning.

“Now that we have an economy that really is doing so well, and is leading, we can now distribute that well-being a bit better,” she told The Canadian Press in an interview. “I just came back from (Ontario’s) northeast, and there are parts of the province and there are groups within the population who just are not feeling the benefit of the economy doing well.”

Wynne would not confirm if her government is planning to raise the minimum wage — which is currently $11.40 an hour and adjusted for inflation — to $15, as labour groups have been calling for.

The changes to provincial labour laws come in response to a government-commissioned report — released last week — that made 173 recommendations aimed at creating better workplaces with decent working conditions.

The report concluded that new technology, a shrinking manufacturing sector and fewer union jobs, among other factors, have left approximately one-third of Ontario’s 6.6 million workers vulnerable.

Wynne said the goal is to deal with the precarious nature of modern work, which she defines as more short-term contracts, more part-time jobs, and less predictable scheduling. She said workers will feel a change in their everyday lives once the labour law changes have been made.

“They’ll feel more certain and they’ll feel less anxious because they’ll have a little bit more predictability in their lives, and that has a ripple effect into the lives of their families,” she said.

Business groups in the province, including the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, have expressed concerns about the cost to business of the potential labour law changes and a higher minimum wage. They have called on the Liberal government not to proceed without first studying the economic impact of the changes recommended in the report.

Wynne said her government will work with the business communities on measuring the impact of the changes.

“We want our businesses to be competitive,” she said. “But we also know that if people are better able to look after their families, or if people are able to have a decent job, that’s good for communities and that’s good for business.”

http://www.torontosun.com/2017.....sday-wynne
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Progressive Conservative’s Patrick Brown warns $15-an-hour is too much, too soon


Brown says the relatively sudden imposition of a $15-an-hour minimum wage does not give proper notice to job-creators.


Ontario Provincial Conservative Leader Patrick Brown: “Do I think we should have a 32 per cent increase immediately without a cost-benefit analysis? No,” said Brown.




By Robert BenzieQueen's Park Bureau Chief

Wed., May 31, 2017



Too much, too soon.

That’s the message from Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown on Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to raise the hourly minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 within the next 18 months.

“Do I think we should have a 32 per cent increase immediately without a cost-benefit analysis? No,” Brown told reporters at Queen’s Park on Wednesday.

“The way that the premier has announced it is too fast, too quick. It’s not giving proper notice to our job creators . . . so, yes, I have significant concerns,” he said.

Brown’s comments came one day after Wynne announced the minimum wage would jump to $14 on Jan. 1, six months before the next provincial election, and then $15 in 2019.


“I’m sure, right now, Kathleen Wynne is looking for distractions for the next election,” said the Tory leader.

“She doesn’t want it to be about hydro, because she’s made a mess of it; she doesn’t want it to be about ethics, because this government’s faced five OPP investigations; she doesn’t want it to be about the deficit, because now the FAO (Financial Accountability Officer) is saying we have a giant deficit, so, of course, she’s looking for distractions,” he said.

“I get that Ontario right now is unaffordable. I get that it is difficult for people to live in Ontario right now — and frankly that’s Kathleen Wynne’s mess from the last 14 years — but do you need to do this 32-per-cent hike immediately? Or can you pace it out?”

His concerns have been echoed by groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Wynne emphasized that she is more than happy to campaign for a $15-an-hour minimum wage during the June 7, 2018 election.

“Fairness and a strong economy are absolutely going to be election issues because . . . . Government exists to put those conditions in place and to work to build a strong economy and build a fair economy,” the premier said.

“I can only assume that Patrick Brown opposes the plan that we’ve brought forward. The Conservative Party has opposed every minimum wage increase that we’ve brought forward and we’ve raised the minimum wage 10 times in this . . . province (since 2003),” he said.

“Will a fair Ontario be an election issue? I hope so, because that’s why I’m in politics. I’m in politics to build fairness, because the market’s not going to do that alone. And that’s why government has a responsibility to step up.”

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns, whose party has long pushed for a $15-an-hour minimum, said “to actually support working people so they have decent incomes makes sense.”

“Patrick Brown doesn’t support working people? Well, that’s his loss,” said Tabuns (Toronto Danforth).

On Thursday, Labour Minister Kevin Flynn will table The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which will usher in a slew of labour reforms.

Flynn’s legislation will increase the minimum annual vacation entitlement for employees with five or more years at a company from two weeks to three.

It will establish fairer rules for scheduling so employers will be required to pay three hours’ wages if they cancel a shift with less than 48 hours’ notice. Currently, companies are only penalized if they cancel shifts after a worker has arrived at their job.

The legislation, which has been much discussed on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter since being announced Tuesday, will give employees the right to take up to 10 days of personal emergency leave each year, two of them paid.

As well, the Liberals are making it easier for people to organize by extending union card-based certification to temporary employees, building services workers and home-care workers

https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2017/05/31/progressive-conservatives-patrick-brown-warns-15-an-hour-is-too-much-too-soon.html
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far left turn for Ontario's labour laws planned ?

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