Fight for $15 intensifies in Ontario

Worker groups lash out at chamber’s call to repeal Bill 148

Fight for $15 intensifies in Ontario
Advocacy groups in Ontario are clamouring for Premier Doug Ford's attention in regards to a $15 minimum wage. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/File Photo

Workers across Ontario gathered Saturday to push back against the provincial chamber of commerce’s call to repeal Bill 148.


Rallies were held in cities across the province, with members of the Fight for $15 and Fairness group calling on Premier Doug Ford to support a scheduled minimum wage rise to $15, set for Jan. 1, 2019.


“People are really excited about the $15 minimum wage and fair scheduling rules that are coming January 1,” said Pam Frache, provincial co-ordinator for the Fight for $15.


But following the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s public demand of the Progressive Conservative government to repeal legislation supporting the wage bump, a new sense of urgency has overcome the campaign, she said.


“A good number of people voted for Doug Ford because they really believe he is going to stand up for us against corporate elites,” said Frache in a press release. “This is his chance to make good on that promise.”


“Raising the floor of wages and working conditions is as good for the economy as it is for workers,” said Chris Buckley, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour.


The Ontario chamber will not back down in its efforts to have Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act 2017, repealed, said Rocco Rossi, the organization’s president and CEO. 


“Just last week we saw a dramatic decline in over 80,000 jobs across the province,” he said in a press release. “Our members have made it clear that the many unprecedented provisions in Bill 148 have led to a substantial decrease in staff hours and capital investment as well as an increased reliance on automation.

“We need to create an economy that connects workers to jobs and this begins with the repeal of Bill 148."


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