The Government of Ontario is undertaking the Changing Workplaces Review in part to address the challenge of precarious employment. The employer community is concerned that changes being proposed to deal with a few bad apples could have a profound and negative impact on the ability of Ontario businesses to stay competitive and Keep Ontario Working. Proposed policy options for consideration from the Special Advisors could make temporary or part-time work more difficult, despite the fact that recent studies show that 76% of part-time workers in Canada voluntarily choose part-time work due to factors such as schooling or a need for flexibility in their personal life. The proposed policy options could also make it more difficult for employers to recruit new workers.
As an alternative to the approach proposed by the Special Advisors, we believe the Government should invest in increasing public education and enforcement focused on Ontario’s existing labour laws. Those businesses that are not complying with Ontario's labour laws should face serious consequences. But there is little value in increasing the administrative burden of businesses that are, and remain committed to, being fully compliant with labour standards. We see these measures as an important area of common ground for government, employees, and employers.
Further, rather than adding more complexity and confusion to the system, we would encourage government to take a comprehensive approach to reducing precariousness while promoting flexibility and economic empowerment. We believe this involves enhanced social programming that is more responsive to structural changes in the global economy. In particular, we support the Government’s piloting of a Basic Income, which we see as a more efficient and realistic means of ensuring Ontarians are given greater security.
Ontario’s employer community acknowledges that work is changing and that employees need to be protected. But in an effort to solve one problem, we don’t want to impose more issues. One-size-fits-all solutions, like many outlined in the interim report, could remove the flexibility that many of Ontario’s employers and employees enjoy.