Liberal Government can take immediate steps to improve the lives of millions through the Changing Workplaces Review, says OFL

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 26, 2017) - Working people from across Ontario have shared their lived experiences of insecurity, intimidation, precarity and poverty with the Special Advisors and with their MPPs. While their struggle is reflected in some of the recommendations in the Changing Workplaces Review, legislation must go further to improve the lives of working Ontarians.

"Until legislation is passed into law, the government has a chance to do the right thing, and I encourage them to improve on these recommendations so that workers receive the protections they need under both the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act," said OFL President Chris Buckley.

The labour movement has presented the government with a clear framework for creating decent work that will support Ontario workers and their families. The OFL strongly expects any coming legislation to make strides toward improving the lives of Ontario workers.

"The real struggles of working people have informed this process at every step. Workers deserve credit for stepping forward to tell their stories. Now, it is up to the government to show workers in this province that they have heard them loud and clear, and that they are prepared to act," said Buckley.

"I believe this government desires to do right by workers in Ontario; they have all the resources they need to make good on their intentions, and to make it fair," said Buckley.

To make it fair, legislation should immediately include:

  • Guaranteeing the Charter right of all Ontarians to bargain collectively with their employer by implementing card-based certification in every sector and for all workplaces to reduce barriers for employees who want to organize.
  • Extending access to collective bargaining for all Ontario workers by introducing broad-based bargaining models beyond franchises to also include other sectors of the economy.
  • Providing options for neutral telephone or online voting when union members need to vote.
  • Extending the Labour Relations Act to cover all workers, including agricultural, horticultural and professional workers, with no limitations. All workers deserve protections under the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act.
  • Removing all exemptions to the minimum wage, not simply those for students.
  • Mandating parity for all workers with respect to wages, benefits, and working conditions - regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time workers.
  • Including temporary help agency workers in a bargaining unit with other employees of the client. All workers need access to collective bargaining.
  • Protecting the right to concerted activity so that workers can form groups to pursue collective action.
  • Extending and increasing access to just cause protection for all workers, unionized and non-unionized workers alike.
  • Extending successor rights to protect employees against losing their jobs and unions when a worksite changes hands, not only to the building services and home care sectors, but also all other contract service industries.
  • Prohibiting replacement workers to make sure the law does not undercut workers who are fighting for decent work.
  • Extending Personal Emergency Leave to all workers and ensuring that it is not reduced from ten days to seven, or combined with any other leave.
  • Providing ten designated paid job-protected days for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
  • Providing seven paid sick days for all workers separate from Personal Emergency Leave.

It is important that changes to the Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act incorporate all the priorities identified in the OFL submission to the Changing Workplaces Review. Unless these priorities are reflected in the legislation immediately, Ontario workers will continue to face barriers to fair treatment in the workplace, said Buckley.

"The government has an opportunity here, and it would be a shame to let it go to waste," said Buckley. "We know that the most vulnerable workers in our province are the ones who can benefit the most from these changes, and we urge the government to give the Changing Workplaces Review added value for Ontario workers."

To read the OFL's full submission to the Changing Workplaces Review, please visit or

For descriptions and information on the priorities identified by the Ontario Federation of Labour and its affiliates, please visit:

The Fight for $15 & Fairness is a campaign supported by community, labour, student and faith groups across Ontario, calling for sweeping reform to employment and labour laws. Central in the campaign is the demand for a $15 minimum wage for all workers, regardless of age, student status, job or area of work. For more information, visit or follow @fairwagesnow.

For information on the Fight for $15 and Fairness demands, please visit:

The OFL represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact Information:

Meagan Perry
Director of Communications