Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

RNAO's Response to Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 Submission to Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs

RNAO appreciates the opportunity to provide additional feedback to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on Bill 148, An Act to amend the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and the Labor Relations Act, 1995 and to make related amendments to other Acts or the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. As nurses, we see firsthand the devastating consequences of low wages and precarious work on people's health and wellbeing.

Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs = A Healthier Ontario
As noted in RNAO's July 21, 2017 initial submission to this Committee, transformative changes in the nature of work require a bold legislative response.1 It is imperative to act now with the recommended legislative changes in Bill 148 as the health of those struggling to survive is being compromised every day while sub-standard employment continues to grow in our province.2 34 Furthermore, it is unjust that those who are female, racialized, Indigenous, recent immigrants, and/or dis/abled disproportionately bear the burden of living in poverty.56 7 8 Since the time that the Committee convened over the summer, the release of 2016 Census data confirmed that total income was 25 per cent lower for Indigenous Canadians than non-Indigenous Canadians, 26 per cent lower for visible minorities than non-visible minorities, and 37 per cent lower for recent immigrants (many of whom are also visible minorities).9

Summary of RNAO Recommendations

RNAO supports, in the strongest possible way, Bill 148's amendment to increase the general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018 and to $15 per hour on January 1, 2019 with annual inflation adjustment on October 1 of every year.
Recommendation 1. Remove the proposed amendment of sub-minimum wages for students and liquor servers.
Recommendation 2. Amend subsections 50 (5) of the ESA to read:
(5) An employee is entitled to take a total of seven days of paid leave and three days of unpaid leave under this section in each calendar year.
Recommendation 3. RNAO encourages the committee to carefully consider recommendations on scheduling and strong equal pay protections as identified by the joint submission of the Workers' Action Centre, Parkdale Community Legal Services, and Fight for $15 and Fairness.


1 Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (2017). RNAO's Response to Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs. Toronto: Author. July 21, 2017.

2 Grant, T. (2014). The 15-hour workweek: Canada's part-time problem. Globe and Mail, October 4, 2014. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/the-15-hour-workweek-canadas-part-time-problem/article20926986/

3 Mojtehedzadeh, S. & Monsebraaten, L. (2015). Precarious work is now the new norm, United Way report says. Toronto Star, May 21, 2015.

4 Mojtehedzadeh, S. (2017). Precarious jobs scar employees' mental health: survey. Toronto Star, March 20, 2017. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/03/20/precarious-jobs-scar-employees-mental-health-survey.html

5 Law Commission of Ontario (2012). Vulnerable Workers and Precarious Work. Toronto: Author. http://www.lco-cdo.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/vulnerable-workers-final-report.pdf

6 Mitchell, C., & Murray, J. (2017).The Changing Workplaces Review: An Agenda for Workplace Rights. Final Report. Toronto: Ministry of Labour, 46. https://files.ontario.ca/books/mol_changing_workplace_report_eng_2_0.pdf

7 Block, S., & Galabuzi, G. (2011). Canada's Colour Coded Labour Market: The gap for racialized Workers. Toronto: Wellesley Institute and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, 4. http://www.wellesleyinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Colour_Coded_Labour_MarketFINAL.pdf

8 Hulchanski, D. (2010). The Three Cities Within Toronto: Income Polarization Among Toronto's Neighbourhoods, 1970-2005. Toronto: University of Toronto.

9 Monsebraaten, L. (2017). Income gap persists for recent immigrants, visible minorities and Indigenous Canadians. Toronto Star, October 26, 2017. https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2017/10/25/income-gap-persists-for-recent-immigrants-visible-minorities-and-indigenous-canadians.html

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