Oakville Employers caution “You Can’t Legislate Prosperity”

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Oakville Employers caution “You Can’t Legislate Prosperity”

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Kristen Curry

Kristen Curry

Kristen Curry is the Communications Coordinator at the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, and a graduate of Wilfrid Laurier University where she received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Communication and Media Studies with Business Management Option.

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Keep Ontario Working (KOW), a group of Ontario’s leading employers, industry and sector associations submitted its final set of recommendations to the Special Advisors of the Changing Workplaces Review (CWR).

While the group acknowledges that work is changing and that labour and employment legislation should be modernized, they caution that employers and employees alike cannot risk public policy changes that would place an unintended burden on them.

“The Changing Workplaces Review interim report of the Special Advisors is a large document that contains hundreds of options to the legislation that guides Ontario’s workplaces. The options laid out and that are presently being considered by the Special Advisors will impact nearly every aspect of the relationship between employers and employees, as well as the ability of Ontario businesses to create jobs and grow the economy,” stated John Sawyer, President of the Oakville Chamber of Commerce.

In light of these concerns, the Keep Ontario Working group has developed several key policy options in their submission calling for evidence-based workplace modernization, with a particular focus of caution in the following areas: Education and Enforcement, Scheduling Provisions, Labour Certification Rules, Sector Exemptions, Joint/Common Employers, Sectoral Bargaining, and Minimum Standards.

As part of their submission, the Keep Ontario Working group commissioned Philip Cross, Executive Fellow with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and former Chief Economic Analyst at Statistics Canada, to analyze the issue of precarity. Cross’ analysis indicates that by several metrics, the concern around precariousness is overstated. For example, part-time employment in Ontario and Canada shrank in 2015 as compared to 25 years ago. Data also indicates that at no time in Ontario’s recent history have employees in this province enjoyed such stable employment; the average employee in Ontario has worked for the same employer for a record 106.3 months (or nearly 9 years).

Currently there is insufficient data to support major reforms to labour legislation. The group has called on government to strengthen their data by developing and releasing a new regional survey. This type of data would help to identify the real gaps existing in employment legislation. The group cautions government against making sweeping amendments to legislation without sufficient statistical and economic data as it could result in unintended consequences and negatively impact the ability of Ontario’s businesses to create jobs and grow the economy.

“We support the Government’s efforts to address the challenge of precarious work, but we think it’s critical that there be a robust, evidence-based, and common understanding of who Ontario’s precarious workers are and how we can best help them” stated John Sawyer.

“Our goal as part of the Keep Ontario Working Group is to increase employee experience and their ability to realize more income, without introducing new regulatory burdens that will compromise the ability of Ontario employers to create jobs and grow the economy,” added Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at the Oakville Chamber. “What we do want is for the government to enhance enforcement of the existing legislation so that those employers who abuse their employees are held to their responsibilities under the existing legislation.”

For employers who wish to provide their input to the Oakville Chamber of Commerce, please contact Faye Lyons, Vice President of Government Relations & Advocacy at faye@oakvillechamber.com or at (905) 464-0659.

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