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OFL Demands Meaningful Protections for Temporary Agency Workers

·2 min read

TORONTO, Oct. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton announced plans to introduce new legislation for temporary work agencies. After three years of inaction, and just eight months before an election, Doug Ford’s Conservative government is finally feeling the pressure to improve working conditions and safety for temporary workers, says the Ontario Federation of Labour.

“Minister McNaughton’s announcement was big on promises, but his Ministry and the Premier have repeatedly refused to take the actions necessary to keep workers safe,” said Patty Coates, Ontario Federation of Labour President. “Two temporary workers have died on Doug Ford’s watch, and yet he still hasn’t enacted the regulations that could have kept them safe.”

In 2019, OFL President, Patty Coates, and OFL Executive Vice-President, Janice Folk-Dawson, were part of a delegation of labour and community leaders that tried to sound the alarm about the dangers facing temporary workers. They joined a worker-led occupation of Ford’s constituency office. Instead of responding to their concerns, and taking steps to protect temporary workers, Ford chose to have the leaders arrested.

“We are calling on the Ford government to immediately enact Section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to hold temporary work agencies and client companies jointly responsible for workplace deaths and injuries. He could do it today, at the stroke of a pen,” said Coates.

According to the OFL, the question of liability – who is responsible for temporary workers’ working conditions, health and safety, and any injuries they experience on the job – cannot be avoided by this government. Employers must not be allowed to contract out their responsibility to temporary workers just because they are recruited or hired by another body.

In addition to the immediate implementation of Section 84(3) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, the OFL is calling for legislation that incorporates the priorities outlined in its submission to the Temporary Help Agency Consultation, including:

  • A mandatory, licensed, and public registry of recruiting and hiring agencies, including the employers that rely on them

  • A 20% cap on temporary workers hired out of total workforce

  • A maximum of 12 weeks before temporary workers become permanent

  • Guaranteed union representation for migrant workers

  • A whistleblower program

  • A clear timeline for implementing licensing and fines

“If Minister McNaughton is serious about providing meaningful protections, he will implement these demands as soon as possible,” said Coates. “Temporary workers can’t wait another day, they’ve been waiting for three years for this government to act.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour represents 54 unions and one million workers in Ontario. For information, visit www.OFL.ca and follow @OFLabour on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information, please contact:

Melissa Palermo
Director of Communications
Ontario Federation of Labour
mpalermo@ofl.ca l 416-894-3456

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