Toronto, Oct. 23, 2018 - Today's announcement by the government of Ontario repealing
the majority of Bill 148 steals basic rights from Ontario workers. Ford's plan cuts
wages, makes it easier to fire workers in precarious work, eliminates paid sick
days, makes it more difficult to join and keep a union, and cancels fairer scheduling
This announcement means a real-dollar wage cut for minimum wage employees, the elimination
of two paid sick days, fairer scheduling and equal pay rules that would have ensured
workers are paid the same for doing the same work.
"We have always known that Doug Ford is no friend to workers, and with today's announcement
he has proven himself to be an enemy. The laws that were updated in Bill 148 provide
basic workplace rights, rights that made life easier for Ontario families. Now,
the government of this province is making it more difficult to get by," said Ontario
Federation of Labour President Chris Buckley. "Big corporations will get all the
benefit of these changes, not Ontarians. Not the people who are struggling to make
ends meet on two or three or four jobs. Today's announcement only continues Doug
Ford's path of destruction in Ontario. He has cut funding for health care, cancelled
plans for new hospitals, and cut rates of social assistance. Now he's coming after
working Ontarians, giving employers laws that support taking advantage of workers.
"Today, Doug Ford is sending a message to the people of Ontario. Far from bringing
in a new era of decency for working people, the Ford regime is making it absolutely
clear that its primary interest will be lining the pockets of corporate elites,"
said Coordinator of the Workers' Action Center Pam Frache. "Today's message is clear:
help is NOT on its way for the millions of Ontarians who need paid sick days, fair
scheduling, equal pay and especially a $15 minimum wage."
"Millions of workers voted for Ford because they believed him when he said he would
stand up for the little guy," said Frache. "Today, Ford has betrayed the voters
of Ontario and they will not soon forget."
The Ontario Federation of Labour, the Workers' Action Centre and all the community
and labour partners across Ontario who comprise the Fight for $15 and Fairness,
call on the government to reverse this shameful action, which comes on the heels
of the largest coordinated Day of Action in a decade in defense of decent work laws
and the $15 minimum wage. Thousands of Ontarians delivered the message that they
want the Ontario government to keep decent work laws and the January 1 increase
to a $15 minimum wage in actions across the province.
"Doug Ford is not governing for the people, he's governing for big corporations.
The government has just told 1.7 million workers that they are about to lose the
nearly $2,000 annually they would have gained from a $15 minimum wage. Perhaps the
most meanspirited is the fact that the government has said they will freeze the
minimum wage for two years. This is a real-dollar wage cut, that will make life
harder for millions," said Frache. "What's more, removing equal pay for equal work
provisions will increase the gender pay gap in this province where women make 30
per cent less than men on average. That gap is increased for women workers, Workers
of Colour, Indigenous workers, and workers with a disability. This is a slap in
the face for millions of workers in this province."
"This fight isn't over," said Buckley. "Workers across this province came together
on the 15 of October to say hands off decent work laws. You can be sure that the
labour movement and community are going to be sending a very clear message to this
government that's it's time to listen to the people instead of caving in to big
corporations," said Buckley.
Negative predictions from right-wing think-tanks like the Fraser Institute about
the higher minimum wage have proven false. Ontario's job numbers have been outperforming
the rest of the country. According to the August Labour Force Survey by Statistics
Canada, Ontario's average weekly hours of work increased from 36.3% in August 2017
to 36.5% in August 2018 – better than the national average. In fact, total hours
worked in Ontario rose by 3.3 per cent from January to August, after Bill 148 came
The Fight for $15 and Fairness is a growing movement of workers committed to fighting
for decent work, and includes students, faculty, labour groups, health providers,
anti-poverty activists and faith leaders. To learn more, visit: www.15andFairness.org.
The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in
Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and