December 9th, 2021

Ford must not create a third category of employee and erode workers’ rights

QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Labour critic Peggy Sattler released the following statement on the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee’s recommendation to create a third category of worker called “dependent contractors” in the Employment Standards Act (ESA):

“People deserve basic rights and protections no matter where they work, including decent and regular paycheques, vacation days, and access to benefits like EI and CPP that all workers should be able to count on.

By creating a third category of worker, Ford would be dooming gig workers to never be considered “employees” and never have those basic rights and protections. He would be caving to massive corporations like Uber and Lyft, and making it easier for them to treat their workers as non-employees, unworthy of full employment rights. We cannot let Doug Ford satisfy the demands of the tech behemoths at the expense of the workers who deliver food, package goods in factories and care for seniors as home health aides.

This was a flawed consultation from the start, without any worker representation on the committee. And by focusing only on gig workers, the report ignores the thousands of other contract workers who are misclassified and denied the employment protections they deserve.

Ford must not entrench precarious gig and contract work by creating a new subclass of worker with lesser rights. We cannot keep eroding the rights of workers in favour of Ford’s big business buddies. The NDP will fight to make sure this doesn’t happen. We will also update Ontario’s labour laws to put the onus on employers to prove their workers are not employees — which, ultimately, will mean that the Ontario NDP would make thousands and thousands of gig and contract workers true employees, with minimum wage, benefits and vacation days. It’s time this province respected working people again.”