Business leaders slam proposed changes to Ontario's labour laws

Bill 144 will create uncertainty, delay key investment and hiring decisions, says business group

Business leaders are organizing to oppose proposed changes to Ontario’s labour laws.

Representing more than 100,000 individual businesses and roughly two million jobs in Ontario, they’ve formed the Coalition for Democratic Labour Relations in order to oppose Bill 144, the Labour Relations Statute Law Amendment Act. (For more information on Bill 144, see the related articles link below.)

“Coalition members take issue with the way this bill threatens the fundamental principles of democracy, by removing employees’ democratic right to vote on whether or not they choose a union and by impeding employers’ right to free speech,” the group said in a press release.

It said, without major amendments, the bill will create uncertainty in the business community and will likely delay key decisions from being made on investments and hiring.

“We are all very concerned about the direction the government is taking with this legislation,” said Len Crispino, president and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We are looking to work with the government to ensure Ontario has a Labour Relations Act that creates harmonious workplaces without stifling the economy.”

Ian Howcroft, vice-president, Ontario division for Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, said, “industry in Ontario is under intense pressure from offshore competition causing manufacturers to shift investments elsewhere. Companies must rely on flexibility and innovation to remain competitive under these circumstances. The proposed changes … threaten business flexibility and will impact investment decisions, causing high value manufacturing jobs to leave Ontario.”

The Coalition for Democratic Labour Relations includes:
•the Canadian Federation of Independent Business;
•the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers;
•Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters;
•Canadian Restaurant & Foodservices Association;
•Greater Toronto Hotel Association;
•Ontario & Toronto Automobile Dealers Association;
•the Ontario Chamber of Commerce;
•Ontario Restaurant Hotel & Motel Association;
•Ontario Electrical League;
•Open Shop Contractors Association; and
•Retail Council of Canada.

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