Chamber and Ontario Employer Groups Call on Provincial Government to “Keep Ontario Working”

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Sault Ste. Marie, ON – Leading employer groups as well as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC) are calling on the Government of Ontario to reject several proposals under consideration in the Interim Report of the Ontario Government’s Changing Workplaces Review. Following the release of the report today, Ontario’s business community is concerned that many of the policy options under consideration by the Special Advisors could have a profound impact on the relationship between employees and employers in every workplace in Ontario, including Sault Ste. Marie.

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour is currently undertaking a review of the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act through its Changing Workplaces Review. The Review has been tasked with examining key workplace trends, including the increase in non-standard working relationships such as temporary jobs, involuntary part-time work, and self-employment. Keep Ontario Working is an initiative of the leading employer and sector associations in the province, who are working together to motivate employers and employees alike to take a more active interest in the Changing Workplaces Review.

“At a time when the cost of doing business in Ontario is seemingly forever rising, our government must consider the impact these changes will have business competitiveness and as well as on workers,” said Paul Johnson, President of the SSMCOC. “Any changes to labour and employment legislation will have implications for Ontario’s economy and each businesses bottom line. As a result, any decision to change legislation should only be made after thorough investigation and, in any event, should impact our Chamber members’ ability to effectively do business as little as possible.”

The interim report of the Special Advisors is a large document that contains hundreds of options to the legislation that guides Ontario’s workplaces. The options laid out and that are presently being considered by the Special Advisors will impact nearly every aspect of the relationship between employers and employees, as well as the ability of Ontario businesses to create jobs and grow the economy.

“The Sault’s employer community acknowledges that work is changing and that employees need to be protected,” said Rory Ring, Executive Director of the SSMCOC. “However, in an effort to solve one problem, we don’t want to impose more issues. One-size-fits-all solutions, like many outlined in the interim report, could remove the flexibility that many of Ontario’s employers and employees enjoy. We deserve evidence-based policy and the Government of Ontario should conduct a cost-benefit analysis to assess the impact on jobs and the economy for any changes to labour and employment legislation that they accept from the Changing Workplaces Review.”

In particular, Keep Ontario Working will focus on several policy options in the interim report that the government is considering, including:

  1. Labour Certification Rules: The requirement for a secret ballot vote must be maintained. Certification simply by signing a union card diminishes employees’ rights and transparency.
  2. Scheduling Provisions: Options that would create rigid and universal requirements and a one-size-fits-all approach to scheduling fail to recognize the diverse needs of Ontario’s workforce.
  3. Sector Exemptions: The interim report includes options that would provide for changes to sectoral exemptions. Doing so would ignore the unique needs of important industries like agriculture and information technology when it comes to flexible scheduling and compensation.

In addition, a critical first step in improving workplaces for Ontarians is increased education and enforcement of Ontario’s existing labour laws. The Keep Ontario Working initiative is comprised of the province’s leading employer bodies, including:

  • Ontario’s Chamber and Board of Trade Network
  • Association of Canadian Search, Employment and Staffing Services,
  • Canadian Franchise Association
  • Food & Beverage Ontario
  • National Association of Canadian Consulting Businesses
  • Ontario Forest Industries Association
  • Ontario Restaurant, Hotel & Motel Association
  • Restaurants Canada
  • Retail Council of Canada
  • Tourism Industry Association of Ontario

For more information on the Keep Ontario Working initiative, visit

Learn more about the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce


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