October 25th, 2021
October 25th, 2021
QUEEN’S PARK - NDP Labour critic Peggy Sattler (London West) will introduce a bill to protect Ontario workers from being denied their basic workplace rights because they are misclassified as independent contractors when they are not. This is common among delivery drivers, cleaners, home health care workers, Uber and Lyft drivers, and in food production, shipping, and other sectors.
“An employee is an employee, and deserves the same rights and protections under the Employment Standards Act no matter where they work — rights like minimum wage, vacation days, and fair treatment in termination,” said Sattler. “Unlike some companies and governments prepared to use our labour laws to deny workers their rights, New Democrats are standing up for gig and contract workers."
If passed, the bill would make Ontario the first province to legislate the gold standard ABC Test for worker classification, which puts the onus on employers to prove that a worker is not an employee.
“We know that some companies and powerful lobbyists would rather see legislation to create a new subclass of worker, so they can ignore their responsibilities and deny their workers basic rights and protections, but we’re going to fight to make sure Ontario does not go the route of downgrading workers,” said Sattler.
The bill introduces a three-prong test that would have to be met for a worker to be considered an independent contractor rather than an employee. It will allow legitimate business-to-business contracting relationships to continue while ensuring that countless thousands of Ontarians are finally afforded the employment rights and protections they deserve.
Jennifer Scott, President of Gig Workers United
"The Gig Workers Bill of Rights was written by gig workers to end exploitation of workers and raise the bar for rights and protections in the gig economy. The bill meets one of the demands in the Gig Workers Bill of Rights and shows that the NDP are listening to working class people. We call on the Ontario government to support the bill; stand with gig workers to take an important step forward in making Ontario a better place to work. As gig workers continue to organize we call on apps and the government to recognize, as many international courts and governments have, that fixing the gig economy means ending misclassification and guaranteeing full workers rights."
Veronica Zaragoza, organizer with Workers Action Centre
"For 10 years I worked as a building cleaner. I have cleaned everything from malls, grocery stores to large office buildings. During this time, many of my employers asked me to provide a company name to write my pay cheques. At first I did not understand why. Until one time after receiving my pay, I went up to my boss and asked why I was being paid less than the minimum wage. He told me I did not have to be paid minimum wage as I was considered an independent contractor. Allowing misclassification means allowing exploitation. If the Ontario government wants to protect workers, they need to put an end to misclassification."