Ford's new Minister of Labour must take action to help struggling Ontario workers

TORONTO, Sept. 22, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The resignation of Minister of Labour, Monte McNaughton, is an opportunity for the government to address longstanding issues facing working people in Ontario, says the Ontario Federation of Labour.

“Workers have been struggling for years with the cost-of-living crisis, while this government has provided no relief or support,” said Patty Coates, OFL President. “Ford’s appointment of a new minister is their chance to finally do something to help workers and their families.”

Since Ford’s Conservatives were elected in 2018, workers have witnessed a systematic attack on their rights. Among Ford’s first acts in office was the gutting of decent work legislation in Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

Ford later canceled a planned increase of the minimum wage to $15 per hour, then froze it for two years. He eliminated Ontario’s two paid sick days and ended equal pay for equal work.

In 2019, Ford introduced Bill 124, which capped public sector workers’ compensation increases to 1% annually for three years, a law that would later be struck down as unconstitutional. In response, Ford wasted millions of dollars on an unnecessary appeal, further delaying the restoration of workers’ fairly negotiated wage increases.

“All these attacks had a devastating impact on workers– it meant they had less money in their pockets when the cost-of-living crisis hit, and it meant they lacked the protections they needed at work when the pandemic hit,” added Coates.

More recently, Ford’s Bill 88 introduced provisions that make it legal to pay gig workers less than the minimum wage and to exempt them from the protections they deserve under the Employment Standards Act.

“It’s painfully obvious the damage this government’s policies have had on Ontario workers,” said Coates. “Now could be the time for this government to begin to set things right, to take immediate and meaningful action to support working people in Ontario.”

The OFL is calling on Doug Ford’s new Minister of Labour, David Piccini, to meet with the Federation within 30 days of being appointed to the position.

“We’ve been clear throughout this government’s term what Ontario workers need and deserve,” said Coates. “But we’d be happy to sit down face-to-face with the new Minister to explain those urgent priorities. Ontario workers are done waiting; they need support now.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit and follow @OFLabour on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

For more information, please contact:

Jenny Sellathurai
Communications Director
Ontario Federation of Labour