The new provincial Conservative government has decided to cancel a number of labour reforms brought in by the previous government. Some Ontario labour groups are saying the reforms regarding employee rights are unfair to workers, mean-spirited and reckless. Among the decisions are a freeze of the minimum wage at $14 an hour for two years and axing the two paid sick days.
The minimum wage was supposed to jump to $15 an hour in January 2019, but will stay put until 2020, and likely won’t reach $15 until 2024. Also, temp agency workers will still have a tough go of getting unionized since the government is also repealing measures making it easier for them to do do. Also on the chopping block is the protection afforded to workers who say no to a last minute shift without fear of punishment.
A Workers Action Centre spokesperson said employment changes are devastating for Ontario workers. The Tories are also shelving employee misclassification protections. Those classified as independent contractors have no protection under the Employment Standards Act (ESA). The government said it will also phase out the Ontario College of Trades and will streamline apprenticeship training.
The are many ways legislation can affect employee rights in Ontario. Workers who think their rights have been trampled upon have the right to talk to a lawyer who is experienced in employee and human rights law. A lawyer will be able to review individual cases and offer advice on the next steps his or her client might wish to take when it comes to rectifying the situation.