July 17, 2017

AMO has submitted to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as they review Bill 148, Fair Workplace, Better Jobs Act, draft legislation that would change workers entitlements, union rights and the minimum wage.

The deadline for comment to the Standing Committee is by 5:30 p.m. on Friday, July 21, 2017. Submissions can be sent to the Committee Clerk, Eric Rennie, at erennie@ola.org.

There are some significant areas of concern for municipal governments in the draft legislation. We look forward to working with the government and all members of the Ontario Legislature to find reasonable approaches to what may be some unintended consequences for municipal services, especially emergency services.  AMO has proposed 9 amendments. Specifically, we would state that:

  • The Bill creates uncertainty regarding the primacy of other statutory obligations, particularly health and safety, that municipal governments need to manage;
  • Refusal of shifts not scheduled 4 days in advance may impair the ability to address emergencies;
  • Fiscal impacts of proposed payment rates for on-call may reduce local services;
  • Additional clarity is needed regarding entitlements for Personal Emergency Leaves;
  • Calculating equal pay for casual and seasonal workers may prove difficult and result in fewer programs;
  • Composite fire departments may be disproportionally impacted which may require council review of service levels;
  • Requirements to share personal information with organizing unions is counter to legal trends; and
  • Municipal contracts may be swept up in the proposed successor rights proposal.
This Bill has the policy intent to reduce precarious employment. However, if not amended appropriately, it will greatly affect municipal operations, even though municipal employment is not precarious. Improving workers entitlements must be balanced with being able to provide all the legislated municipal obligations.  It should not reduce the ability of local governments to provide critical daily and emergency services to our communities.