On May 30th, 2017 the Ontario Liberal government announced a package of proposed legislative changes to how work and contract labour is governed in Ontario. These proposed changes emerged from the conclusion of the Changing Workplaces Review, and contain a number of measures that likely impact Ontario-based APCC members.
At its outset, the mandate for the Changing Workplaces Review was to be supportive of business in a changing economy with a focus on vulnerable workers whose employment puts them at risk and makes it difficult to earn a decent income. Although the plans announced will not be introduced to legislation until later this year, the APCC believes that the reforms outlined will have unintended consequences, including potential job losses, increasing consumer costs, and increased economic hardship.
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act states the important role that businesses play in creating growth and jobs in the economy and how this contributes to the well-being of all Ontarians. The Act also acknowledges that some who work in non-standard employment is in fact not vulnerable, such as highly-paid contract workers or highly-paid self-employed contractors. Despite conceding these points, the reforms have failed to recognize that many highly-skilled professionals in highly-demanded roles choose contracting as their preferred work engagement.
The Ontario government intended the Changing Workplace Review recommendations to “ensure that every hard-working person in our province has the chance to reach their full potential.” The APCC believes that Independent Contractors do just that – maximizing their earning potential, furthering their skill development, increasing their exposure to challenging environments and contributing to the overall well-being of the economy. The reforms from the government stand to negatively impact Independent Contractors – making it more difficult for them to earn a living, interfering with their opportunities to find work and putting their livelihoods at risk. More restrictions and increased risk of penalizing arbitrary decisions are going to place contractor’s clients under undue financial hardship and discourage engagement of skilled workers.
The APCC believes that government cannot regulate prosperity and that to demonstrate true fairness and compassion for workers, we must ensure Ontario has a strong economy to help create jobs and increase economic growth. The APCC strongly urges the government to carefully review and consider its proposals and the impacts they may have on both Independent Contractors and the Ontario economy as a whole.
Making your Voice Heard
If you are concerned about the legislation, then we need to hear from you. Members are strongly encouraged to reach out to the APCC to share their concerns and to find out how they can become involved in engagement with the government. APCC is looking for individuals that would be interested in joining its letter-writing campaign, and potentially acting as a public spokesperson on this topic.
We will continue to monitor the proposed legislation and to share updates as new developments occur.