Just Recovery for All: Endorse Workers Recommendations to the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee
Workers met with the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee (OWRAC) today to expose the reality of app-based work at companies like Uber, Lyft and Skip the Dishes. These workers spoke to low wages, lack of safety and no control over their work. Ride-hailing and delivery workers have played an essential role in keeping us going during the pandemic. Yet, they are denied basic rights available to all other workers. That is why workers are coming together to demand that the OWRAC and the government protect app-based gig workers' rights and raise the floor for all workers.
The Ontario government struck the OWRAC in June. The Ontario government has tasked the Committee with "leading the future of work in Ontario." Although, it has no representation from workers or labour and employment law experts. To make matters worse, the Committee has also only been given a month to complete their report making it impossible to have a substantive consultation process. The review also comes shortly after Uber launched its "Flexible Work+" campaign -- modelled after Proposition 22. Proposition 22 was the California ballot initiative on which Uber and other gig employers spent upwards of $224 million to take away employment status and protection from app-based workers in California.
While calling on the Committee to be revised to ensure equal participation of workers and allow for adequate time for transparent consultations; we are also pressing the Committee to recognize that app-based workers are employees and should be entitled to basic employment protections. While the technology of app-based companies is new, their misclassification of employees is not new or unique. We demand that the Committee address the misclassification of workers as independent contractors in all sectors and close this loophole that employers use to skirt their responsibilities to employees.
The pandemic has exposed that essential work is mainly done by low-wage workers in precarious and dangerous workplaces. Therefore, any review of the employment standards in Ontario must prioritize raising the floor for precarious and low-wage workers. As such, we are calling on the Committee to improve wages and working conditions by meeting the demands made by workers through the Justice for Workers: Decent Work for All campaign.
Click here to send your endorsement to the Committee or e-mail the message below to [email protected]
I am writing you today to support the submission made by the Workers' Action Centre and the Parkdale Community Legal Services on July 28.
App-based workers are employees and should be entitled to basic employment protections. While the technology of app-based companies is new, their misclassification of employees is not new or unique. I am urging the Committee to address the misclassification of workers as independent contractors in all sectors and close this loophole that employers use to skirt their responsibilities to employees.
The pandemic has exposed that essential work is mainly done by low-wage workers in precarious and dangerous workplaces. Any review of the employment standards in Ontario must prioritize raising the floor for precarious and low-wage workers.
This is why I am supporting the recommendations made by workers on July 28 and I will be following this review process closely.
Justin Trudeau and the Canadian government’s cut to the Canada Recovery Benefit of 40% came into effect today. At $500 per week before taxes, the CRB has failed to provide even the equivalent of the minimum wage. Still, it has been a lifeline for many workers who have not returned to work. Min, who usually works as an Uber driver, described what the support has meant to him and his family: “Ironically, it’s more than what my family got from employment before the pandemic. It’s not that the $500 per week is a lot of money, it’s my wage, and my wife’s wage is too low.”
Many workers have depended on this support to pay for groceries, rent, and medicine. Describing the impact the cut will have on his family, Min continued: “I have to cut the support to my son who is going to university to pay bills for my family. Although I [am] worried about the future of my family, my daughter is still very young, and how can I support her through her school years, given the dire job prospects for me on the job market.”
Please call on Trudeau’s government to reverse the cut to the Canada Recovery Benefit and ensure adequate support for all workers. Share your story using #Justice4Workers and encourage your friends and family to write to their elected representatives to call on the government to reverse the cut to the Canada Recover Benefit.
The movement for decent work is taking to the streets; from migrant rights to income support, we are fighting for decent work for all.
No time to wait, status for all now!
Migrants, including refugees, care workers, farmworkers, undocumented people and international students, will be taking action for immigration status for all on June 20 at 1 PM. A year-long campaign led by the Migrant Rights Network has led to creating a new pathway to immigration program -- but the new program is woefully inadequate. As a result, the vast majority of working-class, racialized and particularly undocumented people are shut out of permanent resident status. They live here without income support, workplace rights and even access to healthcare during the pandemic.
Join a local action
- TORONTO: June 20, 1 PM, IRB, 74 Victoria Street, March to City Hall
Please RSVP and share on Facebook
- SUDBURY: June 20, 1 PM, MP Marc Serrée Constituency office. 2914 Hwy 69 N, Unit 1, Val Caron
Please RSVP and share on Facebook
Can't join an in-person action? Join us online!
Before or on June 20, take a photo with your family and post a message to Justin Trudeau: Unite All Families! Status for All!. Make sure to tag @MigrantRightsCA in your photo.
Carlo Escario is a Filipino healthcare worker who has been on the frontlines throughout the pandemic but is at risk of being deported to the Philippines on June 22. With public pressure, Carlo and his family were able to postpone the original scheduled May 13 deportation. However, Carlo is still in imminent danger of deportation unless immigration Minister Marco Mendicino intervenes. From farm workers to health workers, migrant workers continue to put their lives on the line in Canada providing the services and skills we all rely on, only to face deportation.
Stop the 40% cut in CRB income support
The federal budget proposes to cut the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB) by $200 per week. That’s a staggering 40% cut to vital income support that nearly one million workers depend on. At $500 per week before taxes, the CRB fails to provide even with the equivalent of minimum wage. A 40% cut will be a catastrophe for workers and the economy.
It’s not too late to stop this cut! Will you send a message right now to Prime Minister Trudeau, Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, and your own member of parliament? Click here to send a message today.
If the budget passes as is, the CRB cut will be scheduled to take effect on July 17 - just four weeks from now.
Meanwhile, the economy is nowhere near recovered from COVID 19. Unemployment and joblessness remain at record levels, with Black, Indigenous, Racialised and Newcomer workers are hit especially hard and more likely to depend on the CRB.
Join us as we make urgent phone calls to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and your own Member of Parliament. Click here to RSVP right now, and bring a friend.
We will all be keeping a close eye on the federal budget. If the budget is passed with the 40% cut to CRB, the Justice for Workers campaign will be calling for an emergency day of action. Keep your eye on your inbox for more updates in the coming weeks.
As the weather heats up, so does the fight for decent work! Let’s get organized and hit the street!
Across Ontario, we’re getting organized and ready to reach new people in our communities! We have a fresh new petition calling on the Ontario government to ensure paid sick days, a $20 minimum wage, and other crucial changes to ensure decent work for all.
Don’t miss these upcoming organizing and action events:
Saturday, June 26
- TORONTO: 10:30 am to 12:00 noon Outdoor canvass at Bloor and Dufferin. Click here to RSVP on our website and Click here to RSVP and share on Facebook.
- OTTAWA: 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm Summer canvass at Britannia Beach. Click here to RSVP on our website and Click here to RSVP and share on Facebook
- BRAMPTON: Online organizing meeting:10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Click here to RSVP and get the zoom link
Tuesday, July 6
- OTTAWA: Online organizing meeting from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Click here to RSVP and get the zoom link
Tuesday, August 24
- ONTARIO: Decent work organizing meeting from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Click here to RSVP and get the zoom link
Ready to hit the streets in your community, but don't see an action?
Let us know how we can help you get organized by emailing [email protected]
Solidarity Summer: Support workers on strike for decent work
Black Creek Community Health Workers
The Black Creek Community Health Centre (BCCHC) workers provide a vital service to the Jane and Finch/Black Creek communities that extend beyond healthcare. The workers have been forced on strike for fair wages. Under Bill 124, all public sector workers are entitled to a wage increase of up to one percent per year (up to a total of three years). Still, their employer denies them even this modest increase in wages.
Click here to send a message to Minister of Health Christine Elliot and the BCCHC Executive Director Cheryl Prescod. You can also show your support for these workers by joining the picket line at 2202 Jane Street in Toronto.
Wine Rack Workers deserve decent pay and fair scheduling
Since June 7, workers at Wine Rack have been forced on strike after months of trying to negotiate a fair deal with Arterra Wines Canada. Throughout their negotiations, the workers at Wine Rack have been fighting for fairer scheduling, decent wages, and respect for union rights.
To support Wine Rack workers, please follow their call to boycott Wine Rack stores during the strike. Follow SEIU Local 2 for updates and find out how and where you can support their picket lines in Toronto.
You can also join the Solidarity Rally for Wine Rack Workers this Saturday, June 19, from 1 PM to 3 PM. Please RSVP and share on Facebook.
35 Rexplas workers - who are predominantly racialized women – have been on strike since April 26, asking for nothing more than decent wages and respect on the job. They have worked throughout the pandemic and many earn just above the minimum wage and commute long hours on public transit to get to work. Some have worked at the company for more than 30 years. Rexplas (Richards Packaging Inc.) made record profit during the pandemic while denying workers a livable wage.
You can support these workers by sending an email to Rexplas (click here) and join their picket lines at 500 Burmac Dr, North York, ON, M9W 2X8 or 6095 Ordan Dr, Mississauga, ON, L5T 2M7.
Sarnia: Nurses still striking for decent work
Since May 1, 24 nurses employed by the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON) have been on strike for a fair contract. These workers care for medically fragile students in schools and patients at home. They have been without an agreement since April 2019. The workers have been calling for a one percent wage increase as per Bill 124. In addition to fair wages, these workers have been calling for paid sick leave, health benefits, bereavement leave and fair overtime compensation.
Please take a moment to amplify their strike efforts and sign up to volunteer (click here).
Toronto - June 27 at 12 PM Pride March and Rally: We Must ‘Change Everything’: Creating Liveable Queer, Trans and Two-Spirit Lives without Police and Prisons
One year after the historic call to defund and abolish police in response to the horrific acts of violence targeting Black and Indigenous people, the No Pride in Policing Coalition (NPPC) is holding a Pride March and Rally on June 27 starting at Nathan Phillips Square. The action will be live-streamed. Please check out the NPPC event page for more information (Click here).
Support Justice for Workers
The year ahead will be crucial. We need to organize now to make sure we elect a provincial government that will put workers’ needs before corporate profit. We have less than a year to talk to - and organize - as many workers as we can across the province.
But doing all this requires financial resources that we don’t yet have. We need to produce and distribute more material and we urgently need more staffing infrastructure to support local organizing.
You can make a huge difference by becoming a monthly donor to the Justice for Workers campaign. A monthly contribution of just $5.00, $10.00 or even $20.00 will help generate steady income and allow us to make the crucial investments we need to win.
Thanks in advance for any amount you can contribute.
And of course, thank you for all your ongoing solidarity. We are making a difference in the fight for decent work -- and it's because of you and everyone like you.
More than a year into the pandemic, the Ontario government has finally been forced to take action on paid sick days. While the temporary paid sick days program is far from “the best paid sick days program in North America”, this hard-fought win is another example that when we fight, we can make real progress. The victory in Ontario has already had far-reaching implications, with four other provinces seeing new legislation for paid sick days. However, this fight is far from over, with so much still left on the table. None of the paid sick days schemes are permanent, and the days covered are completely inadequate. Workers still need at least ten permanent, employer-paid sick days plus an additional 14 during outbreaks.
We also know that workers need more than paid sick days. As Samara’s story illustrates, workers in low-wage and precarious employment are facing devastating conditions. Through the new Justice for Workers campaign, we are demanding decent wages, decent hours, paid sick days, equal pay, and labour laws that protect all of us. While this government is failing workers, we've shown that even the most anti-worker government can feel the pressure to respond. We are fighting for justice for workers, and we won’t stop until we win decent work for ALL.
Join the next provincial organizing meeting!
Will you come to the next organizing meeting on Tuesday, May 18, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm? Click here to register right now. Together we can shape the strategies and tactics we will use to engage the millions of workers across Ontario in this fight.Read more
Toronto, ON - Hundreds of workers joined forces on Saturday, May 1, to call for urgently needed changes to labour law to address the crisis unfolding in workplaces across Ontario.
“COVID 19 has shown us that precarious employment is a health hazard for everyone in Ontario,” said Deena Ladd, Executive Director of the Workers’ Action Centre. “Doug Ford and his Conservative government have made it clear that they are working for big businesses and not people. Since starting in office, Ford’s government has repealed the $15 minimum wage, rolled back protections for workers, and eliminated paid sick days. Our movement has only grown stronger in response, and pressure is mounting on this government to do what is right.”
“We’re putting Ford on notice,” said Janice Folk-Dawson, Vice-President of the Ontario Federation of Labour. "Essential protections for workers are long overdue. Your neglect of workers and their communities is unforgivable. Make no mistake: we will make sure you are a one-term Premier.”
Other workers shared heartbreaking yet inspiring testimonies. Each worker explained what protections were needed, urged politicians to step up, and vowed to keep fighting to make work better for everyone. The workers who spoke knew firsthand how bad jobs harm workers, families, and communities.Read more
TORONTO -- The Ontario government’s Worker Income Protection Benefit (WIPB) falls far short of what health experts and worker advocates have been calling for. Even worse, the scheme provides less money to low-wage workers who would otherwise have qualified for the already flawed CRSB. Once again, low-wage racialized workers whose communities are being hardest hit by COVID-19 are being left behind.
The program is far from the “best paid sick day plan in North America” -- it is temporary until September and is only for COVID-19 related illness. At just three days, the WIPB does not offer the minimum 10 paid days that workers need - especially during a pandemic. But perhaps the most troubling aspect of this new scheme is the fact workers earning less than $23 an hour could actually be worse off under Premier Doug Ford’s WIPB than under the CRSB.
Here’s why:Read more
HELP US WIN DECENT WORK FOR ALL!
Doug Ford and his Conservative government have made it clear that they are working for big businesses and not people. Since starting in office, Ford’s government has repealed the $15 minimum wage, rolled back protections for workers, and eliminated paid sick days. Our movement has only grown stronger in response, and pressure is mounting on this government to do what is right.
Now is the time to make sure every elected representative feels the pressure to commit to improving working conditions in Ontario.
Who to call
Let's call our elected representatives to demand justice for workers now!
- Call Premier Doug Ford, 416-325-1941 or 416-745-2859
- Labour Minister Monte McNaughton: 416-326-7600
- Call your OWN MPP: click here, scroll down, and enter your postal code: https://www.ola.org/en/members