July 28, 2016 – Leading employer groups are calling on the Government of Ontario to reject several proposals under consideration in the Interim Report of the Changing Workplaces Review.
Following the release of the report today, key Ontario employers are concerned that many of the policy options under consideration by the Special Advisors could have a profound impact on the relationship between employees and employers in every workplace in Ontario.
While welcoming the release of the report, the employer groups have released a statement to draw attention to particular areas of concern where our advocacy will focus:
“At a time when costs for consumers and costs of doing business in Ontario are rising, government must consider the impact these changes will have on Ontario’s competitiveness and workers. Changes to the Ontario Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act will have implications for Ontario’s economy, and that’s why it’s time to identify barriers to growth and recommend policies that will give businesses and their workers room to grow.”
“We know that this is an interim report, being a compilation of the submissions made to the panel. While many of these policy options are still under consideration by the Special Advisors, if the Government fails to take an open, inclusive, and evidence-based approach to studying these proposals, it will compromise the ability of Ontario’s labour force to take part in flexible workplaces that accommodate workers’ individual needs and the demands of the global economy.”
“We deserve evidence-based policy. Following the final recommendations of the Special Advisors, the Government of Ontario should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assess the impact on jobs and the economy for any changes to labour and employment legislation that they accept from the Changing Workplaces Review. The Special Advisors should also conduct a demonstrated need test. This process should not be rushed. Ontarians need an economy that is competitive and responsive to an ever-changing global marketplace.”
In particular, Keep Ontario Working will focus on several policy options in the interim report that the government is considering, including:
- Education and Enforcement: A critical first step in improving workplaces for Ontarians is increased education and enforcement of Ontario’s existing labour laws.
- Scheduling Provisions: Options that would create rigid and universal requirements and a one-size-fits-all approach to scheduling fail to recognize the diverse needs of Ontario’s workforce.
- Labour Certification Rules: The requirement for a secret ballot vote must be maintained. Certification simply by signing a union card diminishes employees’ rights and transparency.
- Sector Exemptions: The interim report includes options that would provide for changes to sectoral exemptions. Doing so would ignore the unique needs of important industries like agriculture and information technology when it comes to flexible scheduling and compensation.
- Joint/Common Employers: Changing the current legal standard for determination of common employers represents a fundamental disruption to the current relationship between employees and employers.
- Sectoral Bargaining: Options that would impose standards and contractual provisions throughout identified regional/ occupational/ industrial labour markets would expand collective bargaining among disjointed groups of employers and employees.
- Minimum Standards: Employers who provide a greater set of workplace benefits than those currently set out in legislation are relieved from providing the prescribed benefit level. The interim report includes an option to move away from this approach, potentially leaving both employers and employees uncertain of benefit entitlements and unfairly treating those greater benefits as being additive rather than replacing the minimum standards.
For more information on the Keep Ontario Working initiative, visit www.KeepOntarioWorking.ca.