UFCW Canada welcomes interim report to update Ontario labour laws

UFCW Canada submission to the Changing Workplaces Review

Toronto – July 27, 2016 – The release of an Ontario government interim report that lays out options to update Ontario’s outdated labour laws is “a welcome step in acknowledging the laws must change to improve the lives and future of workers across the province,” says Paul Meinema, the national president of UFCW Canada (United Food and Commercial Workers union).

On Wednesday, the Ontario government released the Changing Workplaces Review Special Advisors' Interim Report. The report summarizes options and recommendations presented to the province during public consultations on changing the Employment Standards Act (ESA) and Ontario Labour Relations Act (OLRA).

As Canada’s leading private-sector union for retail, food, industrial, and service sector workers, UFCW Canada and UFCW Local Unions across the province made a number of recommendations to set the province on a trajectory of prosperity including extending card check certification to all sectors in Ontario to make it easier for workers to join a union; adopting automatic access for first contract arbitration to restore balance to the labour relations process; and expanding sectoral bargaining to the province’s retail and service sectors to stabilize wages and working conditions in these sectors. 

UFCW Canada, with Local Unions representing more than 100,000 UFCW Canada members across the province, is also working with labour allies to outline a number of actions to Make It Fair for Everyone by improving labour laws to enhance fairness and workplace rights through proactive enforcement of employment standards, reducing the obstacles faced by workers wanting to unionize, and taking regulatory measures to specifically address contract and precarious employment. 

The province is not expected to finalize its review until early next year. 

You can download the full UFCW Canada submission to the Changing Workplaces Review here

“We are encouraged that Minister of Labour Flynn and the Ontario government have consulted and now noted what workers need and expect in changes to the labour laws,” says Meinema. “The workplace has changed tremendously over the last generation. The labour laws need to catch up to ensure that all workers have the fairness and protection they deserve. The options are now before the province to make it fair for millions of Ontario workers.”