COVID-19 economic recovery plan must put people first if it is to succeed, says the Ontario Federation of Labour

Don Mills, Ontario, CANADA

TORONTO, June 24, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For an effective economic recovery that protects the health and safety of Ontarians, the government must put people first, invest in the public services, listen to what workers are telling them, and apply an equity lens at every step of the process, says the Ontario Federation of Labour.

“Ontario workers are seeing COVID-19’s effect on the Ontario economy, their families, and their workplaces every day. They must be meaningfully consulted on any plan for economic recovery,” said OFL President Patty Coates. “The labour movement urges the Ford government to take off its pro-business, anti-worker blinders and boldly consider the robust economic recovery plan that we are presenting. For the good of our province, it’s time to deliver health and safety laws that put workers first, strong public services, decent work laws, and justice for all.”

COVID-19 has shut down entire sectors of the economy. Thousands of Ontarians have died, with millions left out of work and facing financial hardship. The government of Ontario has not regulated a livable minimum wage and has not delivered promised pandemic pay for all front-line workers, and with legislation like Bill 175, is pushing to privatize crucial public services such as home and community care.

“We’ve already seen the effects of policies designed to shore up business profits through privatization, and they aren’t pretty. Front-line workers continue to risk illness in workplaces that have discontinued pandemic pay. Many businesses are not providing appropriate personal protective equipment. Black, Indigenous, and other marginalized workers are disproportionately affected by the government’s lack of action on these issues,” said Coates. “Profit-driven enterprises are not going to step up for Ontarians. It’s time for our government to do so.”

In its submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, the OFL notes the Ford government’s deregulation of health and safety standards in communities and workplaces, destabilization of workers’ rights and protections, erosion of progressive taxation, retrenchment of welfare state programs, privatization and chronic underfunding of public services, and disregard of equity-seeking groups.

“This government has torn apart the safety net that would have protected many Ontarians from the economic and health consequences of COVID-19 and failed to deliver legislation that would protect the health or economic well-being of Ontario families,” said Coates. “To create a province that can successfully weather future crises, the government must follow the guiding principles laid out in the OFL’s submission and build an Ontario where no one is left behind, applying an equity lens at every level of the economic recovery.”

“It is time to build Ontario up, not cut and slash. Public investment will boost both incomes and economic activity,” said Coates. “The mess the Ford government has created in this province has led to illness, financial hardships, and deaths. Ontario must now chart a new path, with reinvestments that put people at the centre.”

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

For more information, please contact:

Meagan Perry
Communications Director
Ontario Federation of Labour | 416-894-3456