CLAC Welcomes Update to Ontario Labour Laws
Minimum wage increase, new benefits, and stronger rights protections will create better places to work
TORONTO—CLAC welcomes the premier’s announcement today that Ontario will be increasing the minimum wage and moving forward with an extensive modernization of the province’s labour laws. CLAC is an independent labour union representing over 60,000 workers in most sectors of the economy, including workers in Ontario who will be impacted by the changes if approved by the legislature.
“Raising the minimum wage is one tool that a government can use to help those who are struggling to get by,” says Hank Beekhuis, CLAC Ontario director. “CLAC recognizes though that it is only one tool and comes with its own set of challenges. We hope that other tools are considered and that the new employment rights and protections announced today will help create better workplaces in Ontario and address the realties that confront the unrepresented, the underemployed, and those most vulnerable to abuse. We negotiate basic paid employment leaves, rights around scheduling, and fair wages but other workers don’t have a union in their corner.”
The changes announced today were largely based on the recommendations in the Changing Workplaces Review Final Report, which was released last week. This report came after close to a year of consultation undertaken by two special advisors appointed by the minister. The government accepted most of the recommendations in the final report with a few notable exceptions.
CLAC’s recommendations to the government aligned with the report in many places including calling for additional minimum standards and better leave entitlements. To modernize the Labour Relations Act, CLAC also recommended changes that would help employees better exercise their right to be represented by the union of their choosing. In the areas where there are differences, CLAC will continue to advocate on behalf of its members during the legislative process.
“The government has taken some steps toward improving the rights and protections of workers, but it must take bold action to truly influence positive change in Ontario workplaces,” says Beekhuis. “We are pleased with the direction and significant updates in many areas and will be working through the legislative process to fix areas where we feel the government is not planning to go far enough.”