Entries in Peterborough Chamber of Commerce (31)

Thursday
Sep172015

Changing workplaces: a business perspective

As the Ontario Ministry of Labour reviews the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA), the business community is weighing in with the business perspective.  There are aspects of the ESA that are working and should be maintained and there are other areas that could be improved upon in order to keep Ontario’s competitive edge.  

“Throughout our submission, we urge you to consider the economic impacts of any proposed changes to the Labour Relations Act and the Employment Standards Act,” says Allan O’Dette, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “We also urge you to consider the structural changes that the global economy has undergone over the past few decades and to consider the manner in which Ontario’s labour laws should – or should not – be used to counteract those changes.” 

Many of the 14 recommendations find their base in the policy resolutions approved by the Chamber Network at the 2015 Annual General Meeting in Cornwall this past May.  The goal of the recommendations is to ensure that Ontario is “the best place in which to live, work, and invest.” 

The Chamber Network is offering five recommendations under the Labour Relations Act and nine recommendations under the Employment Standards Act for the consideration of the Changing Workplaces Review.  

The recommendations under the LRA deal with how unions are certified and the process that should be followed, particularly when small construction employers are involved.  The fifth recommendation asks for fair and open tendering by municipalities by asking that these entities be de-classified as ‘construction employers’.  

The recommendations under the ESA relate to greater contractual or statutory right, exemptions, scheduling and refusal of work, non-standard employment and unpaid leave of absence.  One of the most pressing areas in this review is dealing with how the workforce has changed, with many employment situations now falling under the heading “Non-Standard Employment”. There are three recommendations under this heading: 

Canadian governments should take a broader and more effective approach to the growth of non-standard work by considering innovation solutions that would provide all workers with access to the benefits of the social safety net.  The Guaranteed Annual Income (GAI) is one proposal worth further study. 

Consider the broader economic and fiscal impacts of any proposed changes to the Employment Standards Act that would mandate private and public sector employers to fundamentally restructure their employment relationships with their contracted workers. 

Do not establish, through the Employment Standards Act, a reverse onus on employee status where a worker is presumed to be an employee unless the employer demonstrates otherwise. 

This past summer the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce participated in the Good Jobs Summit hosted by the United Way and the Peterborough City and County Health Unit.  The discussion by the 40 or so community members revolved around how to address the rise in precarious employment, such as contract positions or positions that do not involve the standard employment agreement between the employer and employee.  It’s an issue that is having an impact across the country.  

As an advocacy group for the business community, chambers such as the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce advocate for a business climate that allows business to thrive. This includes: 

 

  • less regulation
  • training and support for the skilled trades
  • a jobs strategy
  • access to a powerful workforce 
  • and numerous other Policy Resolutions all leading towards a better business climate

 

Legislators have an opportunity for innovation in this space recognizing that the labour force, while desiring certain fundamentals, will continue to change and adapt to the demands of the economy.  

In the end, the major underlying theme of this report is asking the government to consider the broader economic context and impact any proposed changes would have.  The Chamber Network understands the need to find “a balance between a desire to counteract the structural changes that our workforce
has undergone over the past few decades, and the need to maintain a healthy business climate” (OCC Report 2015).

Full report

Comment through the "Peterborough Chamber" group of LinkedIn.

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