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Olivia Chow – Most Fiscally Responsible as Mayor

Olivia Chow is the Best Choice for Toronto Mayor.
I JUST VOTED! I VOTED FOR OLIVIA. I’M SICK AND TIRED OF VOTING ‘STRATEGICALLY’. OLIVIA WILL MAKE A FANTASTIC, GAME-CHANGING MAYOR! I HOPE ALL WHO AGREE WITH HER POLICIES VOTE FOR HER TOO. Catherine Ward, Olivia Chow supporter

October 18, 2014 – (Source: Marcus Gee, Globe and Mail)

If someone had predicted a few months ago that Olivia Chow would emerge as the most fiscally responsible candidate for mayor, a snort of derision would have been a typical and understandable response.

Ms. Chow, after all, is a stalwart of the NDP, the party usually associated with big government. Her rivals, John Tory and Rob Ford, were big-C Conservatives, the first a former leader of the provincial Progressive Conservative Party, the second a self-described champion of the taxpayer.

But a lot of water has flowed under the bridge since the campaign got under way early this year. Mr. Tory rolled out a big and expensive transit plan, SmartTrack, and said he could get it built without raising local taxes. Rob Ford rolled out an even bigger, more expensive plan for a network of new subways. He, too, said he could get it done without raising taxes. His brother Doug is running on essentially the same transit-for-nothing plan. (Toronto Star: Olivia Chow’s Damning Financial Model Suggests John Tory’s Financial Plan will Fail.)

Ms. Chow’s platform looks modest and cautious in comparison. Her promises to increase bus service, expand child nutrition programs and study a new central subway line come at a reasonable cost. She would raise money to cover her pledges by hiking land-transfer taxes on properties worth more than $2-million.

Chow: original plan to build light-rail would be funded by the provincial government instead of the city.
Chow: original plan to build light-rail would be funded by the provincial government instead of the city.

She admits that paying for the subway line may mean higher property taxes down the line. She would try to cancel an expensive subway extension in Scarborough and go back to the original plan to build light-rail, a plan that would be funded by the provincial government instead of the city. She says she would keep property taxes while she is mayor around the rate of inflation.

At a meeting with the editorial board of The Globe and Mail on Thursday, Ms. Chow said it was “ironic that you have the so-called NDP candidate” emerging as the more frugal candidate. “You can’t go and say that you can borrow billions of dollars and somehow, somewhere, that the money would come. That’s fiscally irresponsible,” she said.

She promised to keep hammering away at Mr. Tory’s transit plan and his proposal to use tax increment financing to pay for it. She says it relies on unrealistic assumptions about the amount of development the line would attract and the levels of incremental tax revenue it would bring in. She produced a study by an economist to back up her claim. She notes that she has published a fully costed platform “so in terms of fiscal conservative, I am the one that actually will tell you where the funds will come from.”

Whether voters will buy it is hard to say. Some don’t trust her to keep her promises, worrying that she will revert to NDP stereotype and become a heedless spendthrift once she has the chain of office around her neck. Some voters on the left, by contrast, think that she is worrying too much about the bottom line and failing to show sufficient ambition. Many voters in Scarborough, meanwhile, feel that cancelling the subway extension would short-change them. Reverting to light rail would save the city money, yes, but it would unravel a plan backed by three levels of government and rekindle a debate that many thought was settled.

Ms. Chow often says that as a struggling teenaged immigrant from Hong Kong, she learned to be careful about money. She often pores over the numbers produced by her staff to make sure it all adds up.

She says that while she cares about helping the less fortunate and believes in investing in the city, she is also “practical and sensible … honest and realistic.” Given her record during this campaign, that claim is nothing to snort at.

VOTE: Olivia Chow!
VOTE: Olivia Chow!
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REJECT BILL C-377: Letter to Senators

October 2014

larry.campbell@sen.parl.gc.ca

The Honourable Larry Campbell, Senator

The Senate – Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A4

Dear Senator Campbell,

The Fall session has resumed with renewed debate on Bill C-377, An Act to Amend the Income Tax Act (Requirements for Labour Organizations).

As you are likely aware, your Chamber debated and voted to amend the worst elements of this badly drafted legislation in June 2013. However, the proroguing of the House returned it to your hands in its original form to be debated again.

As you prepare to vote on the Second Reading of this Bill, I wish to remind you of the numerous problems with this bill. This bill will bring little benefit, but will cause excessive problems for unions, the federal government and many other Canadians.

bill_c-377.jpgbill_c-377.jpg

Bill C-377 Attacks ONLY Unions; Treats Unions Differently than Other Non-Profit Organizations.
Bill C-377 Attacks ONLY Unions; Treats Unions Differently than Other Non-Profit Organizations.

This bill violates Canada’s Constitution and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee heard from eminent constitutional experts who testified that Bill C-377 falls outside Parliament’s jurisdiction. These include not only independent constitutional experts but also the Canadian Bar Association and the Barreau du Québec.

As previously mentioned in debates in your Chamber, most provinces and the federal government already have legislation that require unions to make financial reports available to union members automatically or on request.

Out of a wide range of non-profit and professional organizations that democratically govern their own affairs, from doctors to lawyers to engineers to accountants, Bill C-377 exclusively singles out unions for punitive and costly treatment. In fact, causing problems for unions seems to be its sole purpose.

Bill C-377’s reporting bureaucracy will be very costly for the federal government to set up and administer, for employee pension and benefit plans and for over 25,000 unions and labour organizations representing over 4 million Canadians. Those costs will all have to be paid by ordinary taxpayers. It will also be very expensive for the federal government, both as government to administer and as employer, when the pension and health plans for its own unionized workers pass on these new administrative reporting costs to the government.

Bill C-377 would intrude on the privacy of individuals, businesses, employers and unions.

senatedebatesc377The violation of the privacy of more than 4 million unionized Canadians and tens of thousands of businesses created by Bill C-377 clearly invites judicial challenges. Where is the benefit to Canadians in publishing the details of a widow’s survivor benefits or an employee’s counselling treatments? Also brought into this broad net would be the publishing of the details of commercial contracts small and medium-sized businesses have as suppliers to 25,000 unions and labour organizations.

Canada’s former Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart expressed concern that this bill offends the intent of federal and provincial privacy laws.

As a senator, you can once again put a stop to this bad legislation. You can do so completely in keeping with your important role in the Canadian Constitution as the house of sober second thought. It is within your mandate to protect Canadians from a political failure by the House of Commons.

I urge you to reflect on the witnesses you heard from when this bill was first studied at the Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee. The overwhelming testimony from those witnesses who were independent of any labour organization or one of the organizations lobbying for the bill, called for the bill to not be passed.

It creates an unfair advantage for non-union construction contractors and an uneven playing field in the labour market. It ignores the basic facts of the democratic structures of trade unions and the legal frameworks within which trade unions already operate.

This bill is flawed and should be defeated. I urge you to vote against it.

However, should it advance through the Senate, I would ask that it proceed to full committee hearings to allow for concerned intervention and thorough study.

Yours sincerely,

Stan Pickthall – Proud Member of the

Rock Solid Machinists Union

cope225

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Harper Goverment Gags Science!

The Harper Government Doesn't Want Scientists Talking to You!
The Harper Government Doesn’t Want Scientists Talking to You!

October 13, 2014 – (Source: Carol Goar, Toronto Star)

A year ago, a handful of Toronto scientists decided they could no longer watch helplessly as the government of Canada systematically stifled information on everything from climate change to drug safety.

They formed a collective called Scientists for the Right to Know. They compiled a list of all the public agencies that have been eliminated, all the science and knowledge-based programs that have been discarded and all the strictures that have been placed on public officials. They created a website. They urged their academic peers to speak out. But none of them knew much about public advocacy.

They were scholars after all, not lobbyists, organizers or publicists. So they made it their business to learn. This week, they held a public forum at the Munk School of Global Affairs. It was called Imposed Ignorance, a panel discussion highlighting what Canadians are losing and why it matters.

They invited three highly regarded public figures — Munir Sheikh, who stepped down from his position as chief statistician of Canada rather than adulterate the national census, Mel Cappe,, former head of the federal public service, and David Hulchanski, of the University of Toronto who has lost the data he needs to continue his pioneering work on urban poverty. (Continued … )

Scientists for the Right to Know:srk_red_transbg

In 2012, a Working Group of Science for Peace started to look into the muzzling of science and scientists in Canada. Muzzling is a broad process that may be carried out by governments, industry, universities, and others. However, we quickly realized that the current federal government is actually waging a war on basic science. While other Canadian governments have engaged in muzzling as well, we have never witnessed the type of systematic attack on basic science that is happening right now in Canada.

We therefore decided to focus at present on the muzzling of science on the part of the federal government. We also decided that we needed to find a means to engage the public at large. The focus of our work shifted, then, from researching the issue to advocating for unmuzzled science. It became clear that the work the group was envisaging would exceed the mandate of Science for Peace – education. We decided to form a new organization frankly devoted to advocacy.

The inaugural meeting of Scientists for the Right to Know took place in April 2013. We are currently in the process of incorporating as a non-profit organization. Scientists for the Right to Know has been endorsed by the Canadian Federation of Students and by the Canadian Association for Professional Academic Librarians and by OCUFA (see below).

 

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Vote Your Conscience; Vote Ontario NDP

Ontario’s Tim Hudak could use some tutoring from the math teachers he wants to fire

hudak mathSource:  Globe and Mail, May 26, 2014

The Ontario Progressive Conservatives could use some tutoring from the math teachers they’d like to fire.

Indeed, the numbers being thrown around in the election campaign in Canada’s most populous province are outrageous.

Based on the claims of leader Tim Hudak’s Tories, by my count the Conservatives are now up by 557,488 jobs, and the Liberals down by 626,800 heading into the June 12 vote.

Here’s how that works:

Mr. Hudak has unveiled a “Million Jobs Plan” that pledges to create 1,030,688 positions over eight years, while wiping out the provincial deficit in a couple of years.

Kathleen Wynne’s Liberals don’t have a “Million Jobs Plan.” They have a platform that largely mirrors their last budget proposal, which failed to pass muster among their opponents, sparking the election. One of the key points in that budget is that they would miss their original short-term timeline to balance the books.

For many, the Liberal plan is not laudable. But it is credible. The Tory plan, on the other hand, is fanciful, given the economic growth that would be required to create that number of jobs.

Based on tax cuts, gains from lower energy costs and other measures, Mr. Hudak says he would create 507,488 jobs over eight years.

That excludes the 523,200 he says would be created regardless. Subtract from that the 100,000 public sector jobs he wants to kill, and you’re down to 407,488. Then add in the 150,000 he says the Liberal program would destroy, and you’re up to 557,488.

(Of those 100,000, as The Globe and Mail’s Adrian Morrow has reported, some would be education workers, including teachers. Some jobs would be cut through layoffs, others via attrition and contracting out.)

Factor into all this Mr. Hudak’s claim that there are 1 million people out of work in Ontario. If I’m reading it all correctly, in eight years you’d have full employment, with 30,688 jobs to spare.

The Liberals don’t make such bold projections. According to Mr. Hudak, they’d kill 150,000 private-sector jobs. Add to that his 1 million unemployed, and the Liberals are down by 1.15 million. Then add in the 523,200 Mr. Hudak says would be created anyway, and you’re at 626,800.

Mr. Hudak provided with his “Million Jobs Plan” a report by Benjamin Zycher, an American economist who says that “only market competition can tell us the value of extra-hard work.” And who also happens to believe that Michelle Obama’s senior thesis at Princeton was accepted only because she’s African American and that the First Lady is the “product of lifelong affirmative-action coddling.”

(I tell you this because I got to thinking about Mr. Zycher on Friday, when I got an e-mail from the Tories talking about how Ms. Wynne would destroy those 150,000 jobs. I was off Friday – lieu time for having worked our previous holiday Monday – but was checking my work e-mail in off-hours, nonetheless. Which means Mr. Zycher should like me a lot because I’m not a slacker.)

Here’s what the Tory e-mail said: “Kathleen Wynne doesn’t understand that you don’t create jobs by bringing in a new job tax, and you need a job to save for retirement.”

You certainly do. You also need a job just to live day-to-day, and there are now more than 500,000 unemployed Ontarians who’d love to be saving for retirement.

(Public sector workers would also like to be saving for retirement, but Mr. Hudak is waging war against them, notably the aforementioned teachers.)

As for that number of unemployed, the latest ad from the Tories puts it at 1 million. That, according to the Progressive Conservatives, and as reported by my colleague David Parkinson, comes from the province’s participation rate and would include those who have given up looking for work.

By my colleague’s calculations, the number is closer to 750,000, well short of Mr. Hudak’s million.

That, of course, is based on Statistics Canada’s measure of folks who are 15 years of age and up.

Maybe if you lowered that to, say, 12 years of age, you’d get to 1 million. I’ve no idea because I haven’t done the math, but rather pulled that out of thin air.

But if the math doesn’t matter to the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, why should it matter to me?

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Defeat Hudak’s Anti-Union Agenda

“Tim Hudak is driving a low-wage agenda, at a time when there are already too many people working for poverty wages in Toronto,” said John Cartwright, President of the Toronto & York Region Labour Council. “We are going to bring this message to every union member who has voted for the Conservatives in the past to say ‘not this time, Mr. Hudak.’ We will be telling our co-workers, friends and neighbours exactly what a Hudak government has in store.”

The slide-show below was put together by the Ontario Federation of Labour to reveal Hudak’s true agenda:

A Vote Against Hudak is a vote FOR fairness for Ontario Working Families.

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Bill C-525 Favours Large Corporations

February 2014 – Once again the Conservative government is making ordinary working Canadians the target of unbalanced and unfair legislation. New legislation, Bill C-525 clearly favours large corporations by trampling on the rights of Canadian employees to fair pay and treatment at work. Never before in the history of our country has there been such a targeted and deliberate attack by a federal government on the institutions that have made the lives of the 99 per cent of Canadians who work for wages better off. The unilateral and unrelenting destruction of these rights should be a concern to everyone.

Bill C-525 is just another example in a string of recent attempts to undermine unions and their ability to properly represent their members. C-525 popped up as a Private Member’s Bill put forward by a Conservative backbench MP to amend three important pieces of labour legislation — the Canada Labour Code, the Parliamentary Employee & Staff Relations Act and the Public Service Labour Relations Act.

Notwithstanding the fact that tinkering with important legislation that sets the rules for labour relations with hundreds of thousands of workers should not be left to the whims of a party backbencher, Bill C-525 sets the bar so high for employees to choose to belong to a union that if the same rules applied to federal elections, the House of Commons would sit empty.

C-525 aims to make it much more difficult for workers in the federally-regulated sector to join a union – and it would also allow a minority of workers to decertify their union.

Bill C-525 is simply about denying Canadians the right to collective bargaining with their employer — to be able to negotiate a fair deal for their wages and how they will be treated at work.
Bill C-525 is simply about denying Canadians the right to collective bargaining with their employer — to be able to negotiate a fair deal for their wages and how they will be treated at work.

The Bill is so undemocratic that it would give employees who don’t even bother to vote in a certification application a say in the outcome. Basically, those who don’t vote would be considered as casting “no” ballots on having a union in their workplace. Essentially, the Conservatives are saying that when it comes to deciding whether to join a union or not, they’ll skew the outcome by considering those who don’t vote at all as a vote against joining the union. And it doesn’t stop there. In a vote on whether to keep their union or decertify, those who don’t bother to vote would be considered as voting in favour of decertification. Does that sound like fair and balanced legislation for all Canadians?

What is being proposed with Bill C-525 is both undemocratic and unfair. The Bill would make changes to laws that had been painstakingly negotiated by previous governments working together with both unions and employers to achieve balanced and respected workplace regulations. There was no consultation with any of the affected parties prior to the tabling of Bill C-525. What we’re seeing here are purely ideological moves that will disrupt the delicate and critical balance of long-standing labour relations practices in the federal public service and industries that play a key role in Canada’s economy.

Bill C-525 is simply about denying Canadians the right to collective bargaining with their employer — to be able to negotiate a fair deal for their wages and how they will be treated at work. If the Conservatives succeed in weakening unions, we will all be worse off because there is a direct relationship between union membership and a healthy middle class. The decline in real incomes of Canadians that began twenty years ago coincides with the decline in rates of unionization in Canada. That’s bad for the Canadian economy and even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges that the best way for a country to grow its middle class is through union collective bargaining.

Write Your MP: Tell them You Oppose Bill C-525
Write Your MP: Tell them You Oppose Bill C-525

The labour movement is not just about decent jobs, it’s about a better life for everyone. Canadians should worry about a government that seems determined to undermine unions and their ability to properly represent their members to the point that it has to stack the deck against them in favour of big business through undemocratic legislation like Bill C-525. What’s next? Will we have to hide our union cards in our shoes when we go to work?

(Source: Canadian Labour Congress)

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CLC Urges Expansion of the Canada Pension Plan

December 9, 2013

SIGN THE PETITION: Expand the Canada Pension Plan Campaign

Greetings!

Since 2010, Canada’s finance ministers have been talking about improving the Canada and Quebec Pension Plans (CPP/QPP), but every time they get close to an agreement, the federal government gets in the way. At the same time, the labour movement has been advocating a modest, responsible plan that would double future CPP/QPP benefits on a fully-funded basis.

This isn’t a political issue. It’s an issue of fairness for all Canadians. As was mentioned at the Canadian Council meeting in November, the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) is launching a country-wide petition drive to gather signatures from a million Canadians, asking the House of Commons to improve the CPP and the QPP. We have particular need of strong responses from a few provinces – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan and Alberta – to shore up provincial support.

Help us reach our goal by:

  • Adding the attached buttons to your web site and linking them to the online version of our petition at www.pensionfairness.ca;
  • Using the attached QR code that links directly to the online petition wherever you can to promote the online petition;
  • Spreading the word about the petition across your social media networks;
  • Sharing the paper version of our petition with activists to collect signatures from their co-workers and neighbours, friends and family;
  • Organizing petition drives to collect signatures or connect volunteers to our organizers in our regional offices:

Atlantic Region – 506-858-9350 2282 Mountain Road, Moncton, NB E1G 1B4

Ontario Region – 416-441-3710 15 Gervais Drive, Suite 401, Toronto, ON M3C 1Y8

Prairie Region – 306-525-6137 1888 Angus Street, Regina, SK S4T 1Z4

Pacific Region – 604-430-6766 5118 Joyce Street, Suite 201, Vancouver, BC V5R 4H1

National Headquarters – 613-521-3400  2841 Riverside Drive, Ottawa, ON K1V 8X7

Petitions must be printed on legal-sized (8½” x 14”) white paper stock. Once completed, they can be sent to any of the CLC’s regional offices.

Your assistance is greatly appreciated.

In solidarity,

Ken Georgetti, President Canadian Labour Congress

 

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Retirement Security: Debunking Andrew Coyne’s Case for the Pension Status Quo

Source: The Broadbent Institute

December 10, 2013 – As the proposal to expand the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) wins more and more support, the opposition from the right-wing becomes increasingly shrill. Andrew Coyne’s column today is a case in point and deserves a point by point response.

A bigger CPP doesn’t help the poor

Coyne says that poverty among the elderly is at low levels, and a bigger CPP wouldn’t help. But it is forgotten that the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) plus Old Age Security (OAS) provides a meagre, bare bones guaranteed income for the many Canadians who lack enough retirement savings.

The maximum is just $16,704 per year for a single person, below the poverty line in a bigger city, and fully one third of all seniors qualify for some GIS.

The claim is often made that there is no pension problem for very low income earners because OAS and GIS replace a large share of pre-retirement earnings. Sure, the maximum GIS is a significant percentage of very low earnings of, say, $20,000 per year. But a high “replacement rate” is still not enough to pay rent and put food on the table.

Finally, we often hear that many low income earners would have to pay higher CPP premiums under the expansion plan, but would not benefit since their future CPP benefits would just reduce their eligibility for the GIS in retirement.

But we do not know in advance who will move up and down the earnings scale over a working lifetime. And the provincial proposal for a bigger CPP would not require extra CPP contributions in any year in which a worker has earnings of less than $25,000.

Canadians are saving enough

Coyne claims that only a relatively small group of higher income Canadians have not saved enough to maintain a reasonable standard of living in retirement. But he looks at today’s seniors, while experts like Michael Wolfson, former Assistant Chief Statistician at Statistics Canada project forward and estimate that a hefty proportion of those who will follow the baby-boomers into retirement will be in big trouble.

The fundamental problem is clear. Unlike the past, only about one in five private sector workers today have access to a traditional defined benefit plan which will provide a decent pension based on previous earnings.

For them, the CPP is a god-send since it will pay out a pension for life, fully indexed to inflation, which will replace earnings from any job held over a working lifetime.

The only real problem with the CPP is that it replaces only 25% of earnings, up to a maximum of just $12,000 per year. And the average CPP pension is much less, just $603 per month.

RRSPs are working fine

Coyne suggests that, instead of expanding CPP, we could just encourage or require individuals to save more through RRSPs. But very few people contribute to RRSPs to anywhere near the maximum amount, and there are huge built in flaws with individual savings plans.

RRSPs are high cost (many mutual funds charge 2-3% per year in management fees); there is no risk sharing with a group, so an individual who wants retirement security must save as if they will live to a ripe old age; and individuals cannot hope to beat the returns of large, diversified, well-managed pension plans like the CPP Investment Fund.

To cap it off, most employers do not help individuals save through RRSPs, whereas CPP premiums are evenly divided between workers and employers.

Higher CPP premiums will kill jobs

While it has been a key debating point for the Harper government, Coyne concedes that the modest increase in CPP premiums needed to improve benefits significantly (about 1.5% of payroll costs for employers) would have little impact on jobs. The required premium increase would be phased in over several years.

You can’t trust the CPP

Coyne doesn’t think your money is safe with the CPP. But there are strict rules set out in legislation.

Major changes to the plan can only be made with the agreement of seven provinces with at least 50% of the population, meaning that a very broad consensus must be achieved. The CPP Investment Fund is run completely independently of governments and has achieved very healthy returns at a very low cost. Sure, premiums and benefits may have to be adjusted down the road, but that is true of any pension plan.

Individual choice is important

Coyne and many others on the right object to the CPP being a compulsory program, forcing individuals to save. Fair enough, to a point. But the same is true of any traditional workplace defined benefit pension plan. Everybody pays in, and everyone benefits.

It boils down to this: we are better off working together for retirement security rather than leaving everybody to manage things on their own.

Used under a Creative Commons BY-2.0 licence.

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CLC Relief Fund Established for Phillippine Victims of Typhoon Haiyan

November 12, 2013

To: Members of the CLC Canadian Council

Re: Typhoon Haiyan Relief

Dear Friends:

You will all have watched with the same horror as I did, the footage of the devastation wreaked on the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan on the weekend.

oxfam-can-400International relief efforts are now well underway through a number of well-established organizations. The government of Canada announced Sunday that every dollar earmarked for Typhoon Haiyan relief donated by individual Canadians to registered charities will be matched by the government. The government will match individual donations made between November 9 and December 9, 2013.

The CLC, working with OXFAM Canada, has set up a dedicated portal for individual union donations. The link is www.oxfam.ca/clc.

In solidarity,
Ken Georgetti
President

cc: CLC Officers and Assistants
CLC staff
fh/cope225

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Ontario – Labour Relations Amendment Act (Employee Rights)

Andrea Horwath says Labour Law Reform necessary to level the playing field for workers.
Andrea Horwath says Labour Law Reform is necessary to level the playing field for workers.

November 7, 2013 – This post summarizes Bill 129 (Ontario), which contains seven components including successor rights in the contract sector, early disclosure of employee lists, reinstatement during organizing campaigns, neutral and off-site voting, just cause prior to first agreement, reemployment after strike and an employee bill of rights poster in the workplace.

A summary of all the components of Bill 129 is outlined below. The full text is available online

1. Successor Rights in the Contract Sector

Currently, the Act includes provisions governing successor rights when a business is sold.

This Bill amends the Act to extend the rules more fairly especially to vulnerable workers in the contract services sector who may lose all collective agreement protections when contracts are retendered.

2.  Reinstatement during organizing campaign

Employees who are terminated or have their hours of work changed during an organizing campaign will be reinstated to their original terms and conditions where an unfair labour practice is alleged, until the hearing of a complaint. This would better protect part-time employees.

3.  Early Disclosure of Employee Lists

The Act is amended to permit a trade union to ask the Ontario Labour Relations Board to direct an employer to provide the trade union with a list of employees in a bargaining unit that could be appropriate for collective bargaining, when the Board is convinced that a threshold of 20 percent of employees have expressed a desire to form a union. This provision would bring the voting procedure in line (though with a much higher threshold) with general democratic procedures for provincial and federal elections, where a registered political party may request and receive voters’ lists, and be obligated to comply with the privacy provisions of the Ontario Elections Act (see section 17 of the Act).

4.  Neutral and off-site voting AND telephone / electronic voting

Currently, the Act sets out procedures for representation votes when a trade union applies for certification as a bargaining agent. The Bill amends the Act to provide that the Board may direct that representation votes be held at a neutral site or be conducted electronically or by telephone.

 5. Just cause prior to first agreement or where no collective   agreement is in effect

The Act is amended to provide that employers shall not discharge or discipline employees without just cause after certification but before a first agreement is entered into or where no collective agreement is in effect and the parties are in a strike or lockout position.

6. Reemployment after strike

Section 80 of the Act currently governs reinstatement of employees during a lawful strike. The Bill amends the reinstatement provisions when a union requests that employees be reinstated and the employer and the trade union do not agree about the terms for reinstating employees. The biggest change here is to make it clear that members of the bargaining unit shall be re-instated to a position filled by a “scab” during a strike or lock-out.

7. Employee bill of rights poster in the workplace

The Act is amended to require the Minister to prepare and publish a poster providing information about labour relations in Ontario. Employers are required to post the poster in conspicuous places in the workplace.

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