This week, Premier Doug Ford finally relented and announced he will restore the $15 minimum wage he cancelled back in 2018. We hope you feel proud of your role in forcing this anti-worker Premier to reverse course. This about-face is a vindication of everything we have done together: When we are united, we can make gains even under the most hostile governments.
But in the time it’s taken Ford to admit his mistake, our wages have fallen behind. When Ford cancelled our $15 minimum wage, he also suspended for 2 years the yearly cost of living adjustments.
In doing so, Ford transferred billions of dollars from workers right into the pockets of Amazon, Walmart, Loblaws, and other corporations who made record profit during the pandemic. And during all this, the pandemic has created supply shortages which are causing the price of basic household goods to skyrocket.
It will be seven years since workers first demanded $15 an hour when the $15 minimum wage takes effect in January 2022. That’s why a $15 minimum wage doesn’t cut. We need at least $20 an hour to survive!
$20/hour minimum wage for all. No exemptions.
As part of his minimum-wage announcement, Premier Ford promised to scrap the sub-minimum wage rate for liquor servers. This will increase liquor servers’ wages from $12.55 to $15.00, a pay hike of almost 20%. This is a huge step forward in our ongoing fight for equal pay. But our work isn’t done. Migrant workers are still exempted from minimum wage laws and students under the age of 18 are will still be paid less than their over-18 coworkers.
Decent Work Organizing Meeting: November 16th
We must keep fighting until everyone earns at least $20 an hour. That’s why we need YOU at our next decent work organizing meeting on Tuesday, November 16 at 7:00 pm EST. Will you be there?
Say YES to Paid Sick Days
NDP MPP Peggy Sattler’s private members’ Bill 8 for 10 paid sick days (plus 14 more days during public health outbreaks) will be debated on November 18 and the vote will take place November 22. We know the Ontario Liberals will be supporting Bill 8 so if Premier Ford and Labour Minister Monte McNaughton are serious about “working for workers,” the Conservative caucus must unanimously vote YES to implement Bill 8 without delay.
Workers can't wait another day for paid sick days. Join us at November's Organizing meeting to organize for paid sick days!
Tell Prime Minister Trudeau to restore the CRB
If we can force a Conservative Premier to reverse course on the minimum wage, we can convince our Prime Minister and federal Finance Minister to change their minds on cancelling the Canada Recovery Benefit. Eliminating CRB will not address the real source of the labour shortage, which is caused by transportation bottlenecks and an exodus of workers from jobs with poverty wages, unsafe working conditions, and unstable hours.
November 10th: Phone Zap to bring back the CRB and fix EI!
On November 10 at 12:30 EST, we are joining forces with Campaign 2000; the Good Jobs for All coalition; the Steelworkers Toronto Area Council; and UNIFOR for a pan-Canadian Phone Zap to call on our federal representatives to bring back CRB income supports and to fix Employment Insurance for good.
Please join us for 45 minutes next Wednesday, November 10th at 12:30 pm EST (9:30 am PST and 1:30 pm AST). Every phone call and email we make will be crucial, so your participation is essential.
From paid sick days to the minimum wage, the tide is turning in favour of workers across this country. And we couldn't have done it without you!
Stop wage theft
Four truck drivers - Gurmukh, Dharamjot, Karandip, and Parbat - have been fighting for justice since leaving their jobs with Cargo County Group.
Workers have faced wage theft, illegal deductions and other violations of the law and together, these four workers are owed well over $70,000 in unpaid wages.
One by one, workers have been filing complaints at the federal Ministry of Labour. As the complaints make their way through the process outlined in the Canada Labour Code, the Ministry is confirming their cases. For example, the Ministry of Labour has ordered Cargo County to pay Gurmukh $18,579.82 and Dharamjot $13,427.25. Other workers’ claims are pending.
Misclassification as "self-employed"
Cargo County needs to change their business practice of misclassifying workers to increase their profits. Cargo County still refuses to abide by the decision of the Ministry of Labour that the workers are employees and owed basic rights. Cargo County is now using loopholes in the law to stall, exhaust the workers, and avoid their responsibilities to pay the stolen wages.
But these brave workers are standing strong. They have rightly used all the proper legal channels to get justice. When the Ministry of Labour finally ordered Cargo County to pay the stolen wages, Gurmukh and Dharamjot thought their struggle was finally over.
Still - Cargo County refuses to pay what they owe!
But these brave workers are standing strong. In making complaints, they used all the proper legal channels to get justice.
When the Ministry of Labour finally ordered Cargo County to pay the stolen wages, Gurmukh and Dharamjot thought their struggle was finally over. But Cargo County still won’t pay the money they owe.
That’s why, after years of fighting for their hard-earned wages, the workers have been left with no other choice than to organize a public campaign calling attention to the actions of Cargo County.
Since Gurmukh, Dharamjot, Karandip, and Parbat launched the public campaign, more truck drivers have come forward with their own experiences of misclassification, illegal deductions and wage theft.
Cargo County launches lawsuit to bully workers into silence
Cargo County has now launched a $17 million dollar lawsuit against the workers who are simply asking to be paid the wages they are entitled to.
We are shocked by the intimidation and retaliatory behaviour of Cargo County. These kinds of SLAPP lawsuits (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) are designed to silence workers who dare to stand up for their rights. But we won't let Cargo County get away with it!
How can you support truck drivers at Cargo County?
Spread the word about the wage theft at Cargo County
Tell Cargo County to pay their workers!
Tell them they must stop making illegal deductions and stop misclassifying workers as “independent contractors” or “self-employed.”
Call or text Cargo County owners:
- CEO Randeep Sandhu (cell): 416-315-2530
- CEO Pawel Sandhu (cell): 647-606-2594
You can also leave a voicemail on Cargo County’s general line at 1-888-673-9601.
Tell the federal Minister of Labour to protect workers!
Tell the Minister to:
- Support legislation that will end the misclassification of workers as “self-employed” or “independent contractors”
- Ensure such laws are proactively enforced
Call the Federal Minister of Labour:
- Seamus O’Regan Jr. at 613-992-0927
Paid sick days are back on the legislative agenda
Last year, the Ontario NDP broke ground by tabling legislation echoing our campaign demands for employer-paid sick days plus the 14 additional days during pandemics. Soon after, the Liberal's followed with their own paid sick days bill. In response, Doug Ford and his caucus voted down permanent paid sick days no less than 25 times.
But thanks to your support, paid sick days are back by popular demand. In the first week of the new fall legislative session, both the Ontario Liberals and the NDP tabled new paid sick day bills. (Bill 7, 10 Paid Sick Days for Ontario Workers Act, 2021 and Bill 8, Stay Home If You Are Sick Act, 2021). Both bills call for 10 permanent paid sick days with additional paid days during public health emergencies (10 and 14 days respectively).
74 days left to introduce federal paid sick days
During the Federal election, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to legislate 10 permanent paid sick days for federally-regulated workers within 100 days of their re-election, and convene the provinces to close the paid sick days gap across the country.
Now's the time to fight for a comprehensive vision for paid sick days. We need you to join us at the next Decent Work Organizing Meeting on Tuesday, October 19 at 7 pm EDT. Let's keep up the pressure to legislate paid sick days on our own federal and provincial representatives.
Will you be at the October Decent Work Organizing meeting?
Extend CRB. Fix Employment Insurance.
The Canada Recovery Benefit is set to expire on October 23rd. If the CRB is allowed to end it will be devastating for thousands of families across Canada, especially in areas of the country where COVID cases are dangerously high.
Eliminating CRB will not address the real cause of the labour shortage which is the exodus of workers from jobs with poverty wages, unsafe working conditions, and unstable hours. That’s why we must extend CRB and indeed restore the weekly benefits to at least $500 per week.
We also need to fix Employment Insurance to be more accessible, adequate and inclusive. This means:
- Restoring the $500 floor for weekly benefits;
- Reducing the required insurable hours to 12 weeks of work or 360 hours;
- Making all EI benefits available for at least a year;
- Eliminating unfair rules that punish workers for leaving exploitative work;
- Ensuring access for migrant workers; and
- Ending misclassification so gig workers can access EI and other entitlements.
Take action now and send an email to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other federal representatives.
Solidarity with gig-workers!
Premier Doug Ford is soon set to ram through legislation that will make it legal for app-based companies like Uber to misclassify their workforce. If allowed to proceed, this law will create a new category of employee that will permanently deny gig workers full protection under the law.
Jennifer Scott, President of Gig Workers United will host a breakout group at our organizing meeting on Tuesday, October 19, where we'll plan next steps in the fight to protect gig workers. Please RSVP here to receive the Zoom link to the meeting.
Stop wage theft at Cargo County Trucking
Workers at Cargo County Trucking company are facing wage theft, illegal deductions and unsafe working conditions. But even after being ordered by the government to pay their workers what they are owed, this company continues to evade their legal obligations and refuses to budge.
Will you take 5 minutes to phone Cargo County to let them know you support the workers? Tell them you won’t stop speaking out until workers receive their full pay. We've provided phone numbers, background information and suggested speaking notes.
Upcoming Events and Actions
Saturday, October 16 - 3:00 pm EDT
SCARBOROUGH: Decent work outreach blitz
Malvern Community Recreation Centre (Bus Stop)
Nineteen months into the pandemic and Ontario still doesn’t have fair wages for frontline workers or 10 permanent paid sick days!. Join us in Scarborough at Sewells Rd. and Brenyon Way (near the bus stop outside Malvern Community Centre). We’ll be talking to community members and asking them to sign our decent work petition.
Tuesday, October 19 - 7:00 pm
ONTARIO: Provincial Decent Work Organizing Meeting
Join us at the October 19 decent work organizing meeting where we’ll be hosting an emergency phone action on extending CRB and fixing EI. We'll also have breakout groups to fight for paid sick days, gig-workers, and more
RSVP to receive the Zoom link
Friday, October 22
CANADA-WIDE: Paid sick days phone ZAP Online
We need at least 10 permanent, universal, seamlessly accessible, fully-paid sick days now! No matter where you are across the country, we need your voice as we call for federal and provincial or territorial action.
Friday, October 22 - 6:00pm
ETOBICOKE: Paid sick days & Decent Work outreach blitz
Islington TTC Station
Join us for this outreach blitz in Etobicoke. We’ll be leading on the urgent need for paid sick days.
Sunday, October 24 - 11:00 am
BRAMPTON: Justice for Workers Organizing Meeting
Warehouse Workers’ Centre | 224 Rutherford Road South, Brampton
Join us on Sunday at 11 am to plan the next steps in the fight for justice for workers in Brampton. We will be doing a short training on how to meet with elected representatives so that we can be delivered the many signatures we have been collecting on our Decent Work petition.
Thursday, October 28 - 6:00 pm
ONTARIO: Decent Work and Health Network Organizing Meeting
Paid sick days and decent work are fundamental health issues. That's why Health providers are meeting on Thursday, October 28 to plan next steps in winning at least 10 permanent paid sick days federally and provincially.
If you’re a health worker, please RSVP to get the Zoom Link
Thursday, November 4 - 6:00 pm
DURHAM REGION: Paid sick days phone Zap!
The federal government is promising action on 10 paid sick days before the end of 2021. But we need also provincial legislation to protect the rest of us. We’ll be calling Durham Region elected officials to tell them we need 10 permanent, employer-paid sick days.
Saturday, November 6 - 12:00 noon
MILTON: Decent work planning meeting and outreach blitz
Milton Public Library Main Branch| 1010 Main Street East, Milton
We'll be meeting at 12 noon inside the Milton Public Library (Main Branch). Then we'll head out for another outreach blitz at 1:00 pm.
See you at next Tuesday’s decent work organizing meeting! And if you can’t make it, join us next month for our November 16 organizing meeting.
Rajean - for the Justice for Workers team
October 7 was World Day for Decent Work. But we know workers have to fight for better wages and working conditions every single day of the year.
Here at home, the Justice for Workers campaign (formerly the Fight for $15 and Fairness) is led by workers in low-wage, part-time, and unstable employment. By fighting and organizing together, we raised the minimum wage, forced governments to move on paid sick days, secured improvements for part-time and temp agency workers, and improved labour laws for millions of workers.
But battling bad bosses and big business takes resources.
That’s why, as we head into the Thanksgiving weekend, we are asking you to become a Decent Work Champion by making a $20 contribution each month.
From farm workers and grocery store workers to truck drivers and delivery workers, the people who are putting food on our tables this weekend deserve a $20 minimum wage and much better working conditions.
Will you be our next Decent Work Champion?
Having consistent monthly support allows us to plan ahead and expand the resources we need to make decent work for all a reality. This is especially important, as we gear up for a provincial election that's just eight months away!
No matter what you can contribute, every donation will be well-used and appreciated. Your monthly contribution will make all the difference.