Bill 47 is a Step Back for Ontario's Workers: ISAC

November 7, 2018

A blogpost from Income Security Advocacy Centre (ISAC): On October 23, Ontario's government tabled Bill 47, the Making Ontario Open for Business Act. The legislation, which will repeal portions of Bill 148 (the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act), is a major setback for workers' rights in Ontario.

Bill 148, passed in November 2017, was the result of years of campaigning and advocacy for legislative provisions that would better protect low-wage and precariously employed workers. The reforms in Bill 148 included a phase in of a $15 minimum wage by 2019, two paid personal emergency leave days, and equal pay for equal work. The bill also strengthened employment standards enforcement and introduced rules that made it easier to join and remain in a union.

These much needed reforms have helped millions of Ontario's workers. Many healthcare practitioners have notedthat the introduction of paid sick days, ending the requirement for doctor's notes for sick days, a higher minimum wage and strengthened labour laws have been positive steps in improving public health in the province. The rollback of these reforms by Bill 47 will put a further strain on our public healthcare system.

Despite claims to the contrary from the big business lobby, these reforms have been good for Ontario's economy. Over the last 12 months Ontario has added 89,000 jobs. Hourly wages and the total amount of working hours have risen since Bill 148 was implemented in January, with workers in the lowest waged sectors seeing the greatest benefit.

Read more: Bill 47 is a Step Back for Ontario's Workers: ISAC