CAW Applauds Law Commission Report, Urges Province to Act

April 3, 2013, 11:30 AM EST

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The Canadian Auto Workers union is applauding the Law Commission of Ontario's landmark report released today. The report aims to address the issue of rising precarious work and the CAW is urging the provincial government to strongly consider the series of recommendations put forward by the Commission.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said the report helps validate the concerns that workplace representatives and worker advocates have been raising over the past years: that the quality of jobs on offer is deteriorating; that workers are feeling less secure, and that too many workers are falling through the cracks created by outdated employment laws and regulations.

"The Law Commission recommendations help chart a path toward a more current, more effective labour law program in Ontario, one Premier Wynne and her government should pay close attention to," Lewenza said.

Among a series of 47 detailed recommendations, the Law Commission encourages the provincial government to improve Employment Standards Act awareness and education among workers and employers, examine ways to ensure that part-time workers are paid proportionally the same wage as full-time workers, increase protections for temporary migrant workers and put a greater emphasis on enforcing workplace health and safety rules, among other items.

The report also calls for the establishment of a multi-sectoral provincial employment strategy that aims to support vulnerable workers and reduce employment "precarity", building on the principles of the Ontario Poverty Reduction Strategy. This recommendation is in line with CAW's long-standing call for a national good jobs strategy, Lewenza said.

The Law Commission project is the latest in a list of reports and studies that point to the growth of precarious work as a significant labour market challenge impacting the quality of work.  In February, McMaster University and the United Way Toronto released a report charting the rise of precarious work across the GTA and Hamilton, growing by 50 per cent in the past 20 years. A groundbreaking tracking study conducted by the CAW and released in 2012 found that many laid off factory workers experienced significantly lower wages and greater job insecurity after landing a new job - 1 in 5 had gone at least one year with no employment income.

The CAW submitted feedback to the Law Commission's interim report that was released in August 2012.

The CAW represents 120,000 workers across Ontario, in a diverse range of economic sectors including auto, aerospace, health care, mining, retail and transportation, among others.

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