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观点:福特政府应该立刻取消47号法案恢复对工人们的劳工权益保护

来源:华工网络、平权会、华咨处等机构   更新:2018-11-14 16:23:58   作者:华工网络、平权会、华咨处等机构

The Provincial Government has introduced Bill 47 to roll back basic employment standards protection for all workers in Ontario.  The Bill will be put before the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs on November 15, 2018. Workers, medical practitioners and community agencies serving workers in the Chinese Canadian community held a media conference on November 14, 2018 calling on Premier Ford to deliver his campaign promise to work "for the people" and not the big business lobby by immediately withdrawing Bill 47 and returning previous protections to workers.

“The Ontario Government’s decision to roll back employment protection in Bill 47 hurts all workers in Ontario. Bill 47 promotes bad business practices and it does so on the backs of immigrant and migrant workers, workers of colour, women and others who work in non unionized workplaces where their only protection comes from Employment Standards Legislation. We need more protections for all working Ontarians.”

- Avvy Go, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic

 
Through Bill 47 the Conservative Government’s seeks to the delay the increase of the minimum wage to $15 from 7 weeks (under Bill 148), to 7 years (Bill 47 freeze the minimum wage at $14 until 2020 -- after which it will be adjusted to inflation).  Under Bill 47 it could take up to 2025 before the minimum wage reaches 15 dollars! This will make life harder for over 1.7 million workers in Ontario and many immigrant workers and especially immigrant women workers who are overly represented in minimum wage employment. Contrary to Doug Ford’s false claim that Bill 148 has been the biggest job killer in Ontario, actual labour market data from Statistics Canada shows that the economy has done very well since the increase from $11.60 to $14 in January 2018; the number of jobs has increased, average number of hours worked have increased and unemployment is at a two decade low. The increase in minimum wage has given working families more money, pumping it into local economies. Given such conditions that is absolutely no reason why the scheduled increase of the minimum wage to $15 should be cancelled.

 
“Who is working for minimum wage in Ontario? Research has found it is disproportionately is women, it is racialized minorities, and recent immigrants who are found in these positions. This inequity in income needs to be fixed. If Bill 47 is passed, it will mean that the lowest wage earners will be even further behind.”

Moy Wong-Tam, Centre for Immigration and Community Services


Bill 47 also seeks to get rid of the existing two paid sick days for workers in Ontario. This has drastic health implications for workers and public health. Getting rid of paid sick days will means that workers will have to make the choice between working sick (and spreading diseases to the community, co-workers and customers) or losing out on pay that many workers need to make their monthly expense. Research and health practitioners have made it very clear that both when employees go to work sick, individual recovery is delayed, productivity suffers, and co-workers’ and the broader public health is put at risk. On top of this Bill 47 seeks to eliminate the employer prohibition of requiring medical certificates from doctors, nurses and other medical professionals when sick days are taken by employees which means doctors become burdened with the bureaucratic tasks, like whenever workers come down with the flu. For a government that claims to seek to end ‘Hallway Medicine’ all that is being done in Bill 47 is creating public health risks and putting our healthcare system under further strain.
 
“I have encountered many workers who are afraid of being absent from work because that means they won't be earning wages while they are sick. Bill 148 provided a basic environment for workers to have some protection. And I would have to say, it is a very minimum protection, only two paid sick leave days a year, it is minimally acceptable. I have encountered many workers prior to Bill 148 that insisted they have go back to work, because if they don’t, it meant they would not be able to afford to put food on the table for their kids. This is not partisan- it is only common sense. The proposed Bill 47 is not only counter productive to the productivity of workplaces but also to the health of all  the people of Ontario. The requirement of a sick leave note is really ridiculous. A lot of workers often are unable to go to work because of some minor viral illness, in many cases they don’t need medical attention, what they need is a lot of rest at home. To require them to go all way to doctor’s office for a mere doctor’s note is totally counter productive by taking away much needed rest time. Bill 47 gets rid of the very basic rights of that all workers should have”

Dr. Joseph Wong, Family Physician and Founder of Yee Hong Centre

 
“I am very concerned with the removal paid sick days. This affects workers who work in precarious working conditions. A study by the Public Health Agency of Canada reports that when people cannot afford to take time off, they continue to show up to their jobs. I am aware that this is the case with many workers in the Chinese community e.g. in food services or childcare environments. The result would be an increase Emergency room visits as people may not seek appropriate care at early stages then have to rush to the hospital when they reach a crisis point. Without sick days workers will miss time to heal from sickness affecting productivity and leading to spread of contagious diseases and infections. What Bill 47 proposes to do is at odds with the Ontario Health Protection and Promotions Act.”

Betty Wu, Public Health Nurse and President, Chinese Nurse’s Association

 
Along with reducing workers wage, workers protection, the Conservative government is seeking to make it even harder for workers to enforce their rights at work. For immigrant and newcomer workers who may have less understanding of their rights at work and who are more likely to face working environments that do not comply with employment standards the attack on Employment Standards Enforcement is a slap in the face of workers. Bill 47 seeks to reduce the monetary penalties on employers who break the law by violating the Employment Standards Act. This will only create even less disincentives for employers to comply with minimum standards and the Employment Standards Act. The Ministry of Labour has announced that they will no longer be carrying out proactive inspections aimed at deterring wage theft and other ESA violations. Proactive inspection is critical in ensuring a climate of compliance but also in protecting the rights of immigrant and newcomer workers who in facing more limited labour market prospects and potential language limitations, may be constrained in filing a complaint to the Ministry of Labour. Proactive inspections have lead to almost 100% wage while only one third of all workers who filed an individual claim were able to recover their wages.

In addition to attacks on the minimum wage, paid sick days, the enforcement of labour laws Bill 47 also it makes it harder for non unionized workers to join unions. We know that union rates amongst racialized immigrant communities are lower than the Canadian average. Bill 47 will make it harder for all workers to form a union, but especially difficult for racialized immigrant workers who often labour in precarious labour markets.
 
“Bill 47 proposes to cut Bill 148 provisions on the right to access a union such as the expansion of union card-based certification in the temporary agency industry, building services sector and home care and community services industry. Bill 47 removes the right to organize and to workplace information provided the union has 20 per cent membership support, and the right to meaningful collective bargaining on successorship rights and protection against contract flipping in security, food services and cleaning in the building services industry, and the right to return to work following a lawful strike. These changes make it more difficult for workers to join a union especially for workers with a language barrier and new immigrant workers. The Chinese Workers Network is calling on the Ontario government to withdraw Bill 47”

Kingsley Kwok, Co-chair of the Chinese Workers Network


We call on Primer Doug Ford and the Conservative Government to deliver their campaign promise to work "for the people" and not the big business lobby, to actually stand up for the ‘little people’ by immediately withdrawing Bill 47 and returning previous protections and gains for all workers across Ontario.

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