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Flynn & Wynne: Migrant Workers Are Part Of Our Movement

Premier Kathleen Wynne & MPP Kevin Flynn

I support a $15 minimum wage, fairer scheduling, paid emergency days and other provisions in Bill 148. I also believe all workers should have the right to join unions without threat of reprisal.

I am concerned, however, that you bowed down to Big Business during committee review of Bill 148 and introduced amendments to scheduling that will make it extremely difficult for workers who need fair scheduling to actually get access to it. Similarly, rather than strengthening the equal pay provisions for part time, temporary, causal workers and temporary agency workers so they have a chance of enforcing these new rights, the government has further eroded the Bill’s equal pay language. This especially hurts women and workers of color, who are over-represented in part-time, temporary employment. I join the $15 and Fairness Campaign in calling for strengthening of Bill 148.

For too long migrant workers in Ontario have been treated differently than other Ontarians. Ontario's laws exclude many migrant workers from minimum wage, housing regulations, protection from recruiters, access to health and safety and employment standards and injured workers compensation.

If laws exclude one group of Ontarians, everyone's affected. Migrant workers live and work in Ontario, they should have the same rights. That means:

(1) There should be no special rules and exemptions by occupation.
(2) Labour laws must be proactively enforced and community members must be able to complain about bad bosses.
(3) Migrant workers need special anti-reprisal protections including the ability to stay in the country while their complaints are being processed.
(4) Agriculture workers and Caregivers must be able to unionize and bargain collectively and sectorally.
(5) There should be no fees for work. Recruiters need to be licenced and migrant worker employers registered. These registries need to be public. Employers and recruiters need to be jointly financially liable for all fees paid to work by migrant workers. Joint liability must include any fees paid at any point in recruitment process.

You can read detailed proposals here: http://www.migrantworkersalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Make-it-Right-FINAL-July-7-2017.pdf

Thank you! I will be watching your response closely in the weeks to come.

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