Ontario Federation of Labour

Ontario Federation of Labour

February 18, 2015 06:00 ET

OFL Welcomes Labour Law Review as Pathway Out of Poverty

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Feb. 18, 2015) - The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) welcomed Tuesday's Ministry of Labour appointment of a special advisory to review the Ontario's labour and employment standards.

"This is a once in a generation opportunity to modernize Ontario's out-dated labour laws," said OFL President Sid Ryan. "Over the past 20 years, there has been a massive rise in precarious employment in Ontario, as good paying manufacturing jobs have been replaced by low-paying and part-time jobs in expanding retail and service sectors. It is time for employment and labour laws to be updated to provide protection for an increasingly vulnerable workforce."

Unfortunately, since the mid-1990s, Ontario has seen a dramatic growth in income inequality. During that time, anti-union legislation has given employers in the public and private sectors more confidence and scope to undermine the influence of workers over their working conditions by subverting their ability to join a union and negotiate collectively at the bargaining table.

"For many workers, joining a union is the clearest pathway out of poverty," said Ryan. "While employment standards reform is critical for establishing a fair and meaningful minimum standard for the treatment of every worker, it is not enough. Ontario must also remove the obstacles preventing workers from collectively organizing through union membership to improve wages, workplace safety, job security and living standards. This is how the middle class was created in Canada and it is the surest way to turn precarious jobs into good jobs."

The government's appointment of C. Michael Mitchell and the Honourable John C. Murray to head up a review of both the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA) represents the first opportunity in decades for workers to participate in a public dialogue about their changing workplaces.

"We look forward to the upcoming public hearings and the OFL will be full participants in what we believe will be a vigorous and healthy discussion about the future of the province's five million workers," said Ryan.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow the OFL on Facebook and Twitter: @OFLabour.

Contact Information

  • Joel Duff
    OFL Communications Director
    416-707-0349
    jduff@ofl.ca