REPORT RECOMMENDS SWEEPING CHANGES TO WORKERS' RIGHTS

May 23, 2017

By Michael Kramer

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A report on Ontario labour laws was released today – recommending wide-ranging updates to workers’ rights.

The long-awaited report makes 173 recommendations – and among the key suggestions the government will have to consider is an item referred to as – “an anachronism.”
Ontario is one of only three provinces that pays liquor servers a smaller minimum wage – currently $9.90 per hour – which disproportionately affects women. The report recommends that be phased out over three years.

The report also says part-time, casual, contract, temporary and seasonal employees should be paid the same rate as a full-time employee doing comparable work – unless justified on grounds such as seniority.

It’s also recommended that the government look at how to extend basic health benefits – such as drug, dental, vision and mental health services – to part-time, temporary, contract, casual and seasonal employees – as well as full-time employees who don’t have benefits – and workers who are self-employed.

Another recommendation is that all employees should be given a week of unpaid personal emergency leave – which is currently only available when a workplace employs more than 50 people. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada with a small-employer exemption for leaves.

The report also calls for an increase in paid vacation time for employees of longer than five years – to three weeks time off.

The Changing Workplaces report was issued by two labour law experts –  who spent two years consulting with workers, unions and businesses.

 

 

 

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