Kenora Rainy-River MPP Greg Rickford is hoping to cut red tape for workers across the district, while still protecting jobs, increasing investment, and cutting unnecessary regulations for workers and businesses across Ontario.
His PC government has introduced the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, which will replace a variety of labour law reforms introduced by the provincial Liberal party last year – part of Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.
Those reforms included 2 paid emergency leave days, 48 hours notice for cancelling shifts, and equal pay for equal work for part-time and full-time staff.
“We listened to the concerns of businesses here in Kenora-Rainy River and across the province, the regulatory burden created by the Liberals is hurting businesses and threatening their ability to do business in our province,” said Rickford.
The act, if passed by provincial legislature, will cut the upcoming increase to the minimum wage. The wage was set to increase from $14 to $15 in January. The act would also replace new Personal Emergency Leave rules, replacing them with three personal illness days, two bereavement days and three family responsibility days.
“By reducing the red-tape, we are once again making Ontario one of the best places in the world to invest, and create jobs. This legislation is good for job creators and job seekers. We believe that anybody who is prepared to work hard deserves a shot at a better job.”
The act would also reform the restricting journeyman-to-apprenticeship ratios, which the PC party says will open up more jobs in the skilled trades market.
“We are committed to making Ontario a great place to work and do business, and we are ensuring that our local economies are set up for prosperity and growth,” said Rickford. “We’re cutting red tape, creating new jobs and telling the world, loud and clear that Ontario is open for business.”
However, national representative for Unifor, Stephen Boon, says that he is beyond disappointed with the PC party, Rickford and the proposed act – saying that the bill is designed to attack Ontario workers on a number of fronts.
"It was sad to watch Kenora MPP Greg Rickford stand up and cheer this week as the the Ford Government moved to repeal Bill 148 and the most worker-friendly labour law reforms Ontario has seen in a generation,” said Boon.
“The Conservatives kept telling us they were out for the little guy and we learned this week that clearly didn't mean Ontario workers. The Conservative's new Bill 47 shows us that Doug Ford has chosen to side with his friends in business over the millions of working people of this province.”
Boon says that freezing the minimum wage at $14 hurts working families across the province. He adds that it makes union negotiations more difficult with less union access to employee lists, and no new card-based certifications for union members.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is supportive of the PC’s new bill. In a statement, Chamber President and CEO Rocco Rossi says that the Liberals’ labour reforms were too much, too quickly for businesses in Ontario.
“Businesses across the province are experiencing real consequences from this legislation’s lack of stakeholder consultation and unrealistic implementation timelines. Premier Ford pledged to make Ontario ‘Open for Business’ by implementing policies that make it easier to invest, start, and grow a business in the province as well as build an economy that connects workers to jobs. This begins with the reversal of Bill 148.”
Rossi adds that the OCC supports the $14 minimum wage, but the business community must be consulted and a economic needs analysis needs to be completed before any future changes to employment legislation.