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Repeal of labour laws a setback for struggling workers, families and Ontario economy

October 23, 2018

The planned repeal of labour laws designed to help Ontario’s precarious workers would be a set-back for them, their families and the growth of Ontario’s economy, according to the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO).

“Ontario’s economy is not going to grow when 40 per cent of working people do not have disposable income to fuel the economy nor the stability to feed their families,” said ETFO President Sam Hammond. “We’ve seen time and time again that “open for business” really means that corporations and businesses get to operate carte blanche while suppressing wages and benefits needed by workers to survive.”

Fully 20 per cent of Ontario workers are in precarious jobs with another 20 percent in situations that are borderline with salaries but no benefits, according to the Workers Action Centre. They include full-time workers, racialized workers who are largely women and new immigrants, professionals, young people and students as well as some occasional teachers.

“Bill 148 has provided occasional teachers and other educators with protection against the uncertainties created by precarious work. As well, every day in our classrooms we see the lived experiences of working families and the impact of poverty. A $15 minimum wage is key to supporting these people and giving them a step up,” added Hammond. “The notion that a $15 minimum wage hurts small businesses has been disproven. Since a $14 minimum wage was introduced last January, Ontario has gained jobs including in the food service and hospitality area, a sector that employs many minimum wage earners.”

Along with cancelling the scheduled increase in the minimum wage, the repeal of labour laws by the Ford government would stop many much-needed labour reforms such as paid sick days, vacation pay, equal pay for work of equal value and the ability to organize in workplaces. ETFO is encouraging its members to contact their MPP to vote against the repeal of Bill 148.

The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario represents 83,000 elementary public school teachers, occasional teachers and education professionals across the province. ETFO’s Building Better Schools education agenda can be viewed at buildingbetterschools.ca.

For more information, contact ETFO Media Relations:
Valerie Dugale, 1-888-838-3836 x2331, cell 416-948-0195, vdugale@etfo.org
@etfomedia