Fall economic statement shows that help isn’t on the way for Ontarians, says OFL

Don Mills, Ontario, CANADA

TORONTO, Nov. 15, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- From start to finish, the Fall Economic Statement is a disappointment for Ontarians and their families, says the Ontario Federation of Labour.

“After this economic statement, Ontarians are facing even harder times: poor funding for public services, a cancelled minimum wage increase, a tax cut that is unusable for many vulnerable workers, no meaningful plan for climate change, and a dismal lack of government oversight,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Far from ‘restoring trust’ for Ontarians, removing oversight roles like the Ontario Child Advocate means a government already mired in scandals will be even less accountable to Ontarians.”

Two-thirds of minimum-wage earners won’t make enough to receive a tax cut. With a $15 minimum wage, they would receive almost $2,000 more annually.

“These policies will increase poverty for years to come in Ontario. Workers, who are already losing the January 1 increase to a $15 minimum wage, will also be disadvantaged when it is time for them to collect their pensions, because those payments are based on long-term income,” said Buckley. “They’re providing an income tax cut for the highest earners instead of providing real-dollar help to the people who need it most.”

The OFL has long fought to defend public services, which have been substantially slashed since this government took office.

“Ontarians are being left without help when they most need it – from the healthcare system to social assistance to hydro,” said Ontario Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. “Of all Canadian provinces, Ontario already has the lowest per-capita funding for programming. Further cuts will starve public programs and deprive Ontarians of the services they need. The government should be taxing corporations at a higher rate to properly fund those services.”

Buckley also voiced concerns about the government’s statement that it would require government approval of bargaining mandates for public agencies and ratification of collective agreements during the bargaining process.

“Micromanaging agencies by interfering in the bargaining process will delay the ability of workers to reach a collective agreement and impede their right to bargain,” said Buckley. “This will hurt services Ontarians depend on.”

Buckley added that the Fall Economic Statement “does not reflect the important concerns of workers across the province, as they see their government on the cusp of cancelling many of the workplace rights that were protected under the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. It’s also important that injured workers be the government’s highest priority while conducting its review of the WSIB.”

“This government promised Ontarians that help was on the way, and instead it has hurt millions of Ontarians by engineering heartless cuts to social assistance, workplace rights, and plans for a $15 minimum wage in 2019,” said Buckley. “This government must start governing in a way that will continue the economic growth and positive changes to workplace laws that have been in place since November of last year.”

The OFL deputation to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs was also held today. At that committee hearing, OFL President Chris Buckley called on the government to withdraw Bill 47 in order to keep decent work laws, including two paid sick days, equal pay for part and full-time workers, laws that make it easier to join a union and the January 1 increase to a $15 minimum wage.

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

For further information, please contact:

Meagan Perry
Director of Communications,
Ontario Federation of Labour
mperry@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456