OFL says Ontario’s post-COVID-19 plans must include workers and the unions that represent them
Toronto – During all three phases of reopening Ontario’s economy, the government’s Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee must include the Official Opposition, and consult with workers and the unions that represent them, says the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL).
“Decisions related to economic recovery and a safe return to work in Ontario need to be made in consultation with workers,” said OFL president Patty Coates. “The labour movement’s ongoing advocacy on worker safety is an essential element of developing a safe and healthy method for reopening the economy of our province.”
Today, after the government announced the framework of “Protect and Support,” “Restart,” and “Recover,” the OFL renewed its call for the government to consult with labour on how best to protect the working people of Ontario through the COVID-19 crisis and in the months and years afterward.
“A committee tasked with determining the effect of COVID-19 on the economy of this province and ensuring post-COVID-19 job creation and economic growth must include the people who power this province’s economy: workers,” said Coates.
An April 9, 2020 press release from the government read: “the Committee will be consulting with a wide variety of people to assess the impact of COVID-19 … including business associations, chambers of commerce, municipal leaders, corporate leaders, small business owners, and entrepreneurs.”
“Workers and unions are notably absent from the list of consulting organizations,” said Coates. “Unions are the voice of workers in this province, championing the rights of both unionized and non-unionized workers. Unionized workers help stimulate economic growth and, by setting standards across the world of work, unions help boost growth for the economy at large. The government’s consultation must include the people that both power and support our province’s economy.”
On average, unionized workers across Canada earn $5.14/hour more than non-union workers – with equity-seeking workers seeing greater increases. That better pay, in turn, increases the purchasing power of low- and middle-income households which are more likely to spend their money in the local economy than to save it. Increasing demand for goods also creates more jobs and stimulates economic growth. Further, workers who are paid well and enjoy job security can afford to pay taxes to support the growth of public services like schools, roads, and hospitals.
“The labour movement strongly expects to play an integral role in helping to transition workers back into their jobs – with decent and safe working conditions,” said Coates.
The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca.