Ford Takes on Bill 148: But There is Resistance

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin ... No. 1694 ... October 26, 2018

Ford Takes on Bill 148: But There is Resistance

Chloe Rockarts and Gerard Di Trolio

When the Tories were elected to govern Ontario this past June, it was a day that many were both dreading and expecting.

The Ontario government has finally unveiled their legislation that would repeal the gains workers made from Bill 148. In an emergency action coordinated by the $15 and Fairness campaign, 500 workers were out in the streets of Toronto yesterday evening, to send a message to Premier Ford that the actions he and his party have taken to repeal Bill 148 has betrayed workers across the province.

The Bill freezes the minimum wage at $14 and only indexes it to inflation beginning in October 2020.

The... ten personal emergency leave (PEL) days, two of which are paid, becomes 8 PEL days that are proscriptive (3 for sickness, 3 for family emergency, 2 for bereavement). None of those PEL days are paid. The requirement for workers to provide doctor’s notes in order to take these emergency leave days have returned. For workplaces with over 50 employees, these measures are worse than what existed before Bill 148.

"Doctors and nurses are busy enough without the additional task of writing sick notes, which will cost taxpayers hundreds of dollars," says Dr. Kate Hayman, emergency doctor involved in the Decent Work and Health Network. "Let’s call this policy what it is. It’s bad for workers, and it’s bad for the health of every Ontarian. From a government that promised to listen to doctors and end hallway medicine, I expected better."

The 3 hour pay guarantee for on call and shift work for workers not called in, or for shifts cancelled within 48 hours is among the long list of gains made that will no longer come into effect January 1, 2019.

Equal pay for equal work for part-time, casual, contract, and temp workers has also been scrapped, with the equal pay for equal work provision reverting back to gender equity provisions, rather than for the type of work done. Further, workers will no longer have the provision that put the onus on the employer to prove that workers are not employees in order to prevent job misclassification.

Rules that lowered the threshold of union cards needed to be signed to get employee lists, sector-specific card check, and sector-specific protections against contract flipping has also been eliminated.

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