Guelph, Ont. – Food and Beverage Ontario (FBO) has joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce call for the immediate repeal of labour reforms introduced by Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017.
FBO members have cited concerns similar to other Ontario businesses that the reforms made by the previous government were done too quickly and without adequate consultation on how it aligns with Ontario’s aspirations to be a global leader in food and beverage manufacturing. Impacts include potential losses to jobs, compromises to food safety and animal welfare and challenges to job creation in the province. Ontario business competitiveness and success is also at risk.
“This issue has been the top priority for Food and Beverage Ontario over the last year,” said Michael Burrows, Chair, Food and Beverage Ontario. “Our processor members are seeking opportunities to expand, grow and invest in businesses, not shutter them. Let’s make Ontario open for business and find equitable ways to strengthen and support a robust workforce.”
In May 2017, FBO shared its concerns regarding the previous government’s Changing Workplaces Review in the policy paper, Putting Good Jobs in a Precarious Situation. In more recent discussions with political officials, FBO reiterated the following specific concerns regarding Bill 148:
•Requiring a minimum four days working notice of shift change – a reform that impacts the well-being of employees, compromises food safety, increases food waste and creates animal welfare concerns.
•Providing ten personal emergency leaves and no longer requiring employees to provide a doctor’s note – a reform that increases labour costs, absenteeism and impacts the safety of the work environment.
•Equal pay for agency temporary help, seasonal workers and part-time workers – a reform that diminishes the value and skills provided by full time employment.
•Consolidation of bargaining units – a reform that will make companies less inclined to accommodate specific regional requests.
•Lowering the threshold from 40 per cent to 20 per cent for a union to request a certification vote – a reform that will impacts employee’s rights to privacy and independent decision-making.
FBO has also recommended that the minimum wage of $14 per hour remain until a credible economic analysis be completed on the impacts of further wage increases to business competitiveness and job creation.
FBO This is an ideal time for the provincial government to consult with Ontario food and beverage processors and other businesses. There is an opportunity to truly engage with stakeholders in industry, economic development and career pathways to ensure legislative modernization efforts properly reflect the needs of all in the province.