ONTARIO — The Premier told the legislature today that he would scrap paid sick days, as provided in the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, known as Bill 148.
Paid sick days and the other reforms in the Act from the legislated increase in the minimum wage to $15 to unpaid personal emergency leave and regulations that protect wages when workers face contract flipping, are improvements for workers across the province.
“There is no part of this Act that can be scrapped without hurting workers across this province. The reforms under Bill 148 improved conditions for workers across the board, updating shamefully outdated labour and employment laws. For our government to answer the call of big business by hurting the people he has promised to defend is shameful. The workers of this province will not rest until these protections in the workplace are guaranteed,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley.
The Ontario Federation of Labour and community partners The Fight for $15 and Fairness held a press conference Friday which laid out the need to keep and enhance workers’ rights across the province, hearing from a minimum wage worker that the increase to a $14 minimum wage has meant pulling herself out of deep poverty, a doctor who spoke about the health benefits of decent work, and an Imam who talked about the benefit of fairer employment and labour laws on the members of his congregation.
The government has not introduced any legislation or regulation that would cancel Bill 148. There is still time to change their plan.
“It’s going to take more than a statement in the legislature to take away the rights that Ontarians have fought for,” said Buckley. “Workers in this province are entitled to the same rights that they were yesterday, and that includes the fact that the increase in the minimum wage increase is still scheduled to happen on January 1.”
Bill 148 includes important rights: 5 paid days for domestic and sexual violence survivors, 2 paid sick days, ten days personal emergency leave days, two of which are paid, and other workplace protections.
“Big business wants to increase its profits on the backs of workers in this province,” said Buckley. “Our Premier should be looking after vulnerable workers in this province by respecting Bill 148. Those gains in Bill 148 provide a direct benefit to the workers that Doug Ford calls ‘the little guy.’ Cancelling Bill 148 will hurt, not help workers in Ontario.”
The OFL encourages the Premier to changes his mind on Bill 148 and asks that Ontarians act by calling PC MPPs to tell them to keep Bill 148, or email MPPs by going to myrights.ca.