Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government had announced a large scale rollback to Ontario’s Labour Standards Act, which promised to freeze minimum wage at $14 an hour and repealing Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Doug Ford, The Premier of Ontario had stated some of the proposed legislation changes that we would see such as the removal of paid sick days and the exemption for a sick note if you are sick for less than three days a year.
There is some evidence from other provinces in the country such as Alberta that shows the increase in minimum wage would only help boost the economy.
Small-sized business owners had a hard time swallowing some of the Premier’s changes, as many were quite costly to their business that caused them to have to cut staff and raise prices. The Ontario government could have perhaps introduced grants to help bridge the gap for small-sized businesses struggling to adapt to the changes. We are seeing an almost whole-scale rollback of the Labour Standards Act, which makes it extremely difficult for those small-sized businesses to survive.
With the repeal of Bill 148, this could be seen as a politically motivated move as we are seeing Ford favouring rich business owners while the lesser are suffering.
Doctor’s notes are a tax on the poor because neither the Ontario Health Insurance Plan or the employer pay for them.
Most of labour law changes affect poor workers. Doctor’s notes are paid out of pocket and not reimbursed. Unpaid sick days mean those who are sick and would have previously stayed home will continue going to work and risk passing on their virus to their coworkers and those they come into contact with.
However, employers cannot make large changes in their workplaces to rollback the increases without possible large scale litigation along with potential claims of discrimination and constructive dismissal.
If Premier Doug Ford wanted to make genuine changes to the Labour Standards Act and the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 then he would have started by consulting with minimum wage earners, workers in blue collar positions and small-sized business owners.
For Ontario deserves more.