Category Archives: Labour

Too Many Ontario Workers Not Getting a Fair Deal: Report

Ontario Flynn worker report

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn must decide if recommendations from workplace report will be implemented.

Tuesday, an Ontario worker rights group released a report that makes sweeping recommendations for closing provincial legislative loopholes it says results in low wages, poor working conditions and allows employers to evade their responsibilities under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act.

The report’s authors, the Workers’ Action Centre (WAC), produced a similar report in 2007. The group says that if anything, things have gotten worse on the job in the past eight years.

According to the report – called Still Working on the Edge – the number of part-time jobs has risen much faster than that of full-time jobs. Moreover, many people are trapped in part-time work but would rather be working full-time. Since the last recession in 2008-9, many of Ontario’s  full-time, better-paid jobs have been permanently lost. Moreover, new full-time job growth is taking place in lower-paid sectors of the economy. Continue reading

Ontario Conservatives Stall Minimum Wage, Worker Protection Bill

minimum wage index, temporary employmetn agencies

Conservatives stall on Ontario legislation that would index the minimum wage to inflation and protect interns and vulnerable employees at temporary employment  agencies.

The Ontario legislative committee considering amendments to a bill on worker protection and the minimum wage spent Monday afternoon and evening mired in stalling tactics as the opposition Conservatives pulled out all stops to block a bill designed to improve working conditions for workers in low-wage, temporary employment.

The Tories, led in committee by right-wing MPP Randy Hillier, filed hundreds of stalling amendments on the bill, all of which had to be considered along with the handful of serious ones put forward by the Liberals and NDP. The Conservatives said the stalling tactics were being deployed because the Liberal Government invoked time allocation – a measure that cuts short debate and fast-tracks a bill through committee and the house. Continue reading

Ontario, Federal Governments Drop the Ball As Ford Gives $2 Billion Investment To Mexico, Not Windsor

Ford Engine, Windsor, Ontario Government, Mexico

A potential $2 billion investment by Ford to produce a new generation of engines has gone to Mexico, not Windsor.

A major Ford Motor Co. engine investment that the federal and Ontario governments were trying to land for Windsor, will instead go to Mexico.

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, represents workers at Ford Windsor. In a statement, Unifor president Jerry Dias said that Ford was asking Ontario for a cash grant and the federal government for a loan, but would not specify the dollar amounts. “It was a very aggressive proposal by Ford,” he said.

In the end, Dias added, the Mexican government effectively outbid Canada: “Mexico will subsidize heavily and did, just like every other country that wants a strong auto industry.”

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Time to End The Temporary Foreign Worker Program

The temporary foreign worker program is a train wreck and should be scrapped. As long as this program exists, whether it’s tweaked at the margins or not, employers are going to find ways of using temporary foreign workers as pawns to drive down wages and conditions.”

The temporary foreign worker program is a train wreck and should be scrapped. As long as this program exists, whether it’s tweaked at the margins or not, employers are going to find ways of using temporary foreign workers as pawns to drive down wages and conditions.”

Canadians would like to think that we could never be like certain oil-rich Persian Gulf nations who allow employers to import temporary foreign workers, but not their families, pay dirt-poor wages and hold them hostage as indentured labour tethered to their master.

But our Temporary Foreign Worker Program allows precisely that. It allows employers to import cheap foreign labour, without families, mostly for low-end jobs for short periods. The temps are tied to their employer who may mistreat them. That Canadian employers do not exploit foreign workers quite the way certain Middle Eastern countries do is not saying much.

The program, besides undermining Canadian values, has depressed wages in certain regions, adding to the already unacceptable level of inequity between rich and poor. Continue reading