Publications, opinions, and speeches

Policy brief

Protecting workers in a recession is important for a stronger economy

Published on 16/03/2009

Policy in Focus, Issue 7

Summary of Working on the Edge by the Workers’ Action Centre.

  • Today more than 37 percent of workers in Canada work part-time, on contract, work through temp agencies, or in self-employed situations.
  • The uncertainty they face in their jobs is augmented by the lack of enforcement of employment standards.
  • Surveys have found that 25 percent of employers are in widespread violation of labour laws and that 50 percent are in partial violation.
  • In most cases, the provinces are responsible for creating and enforcing labour laws that protect workers.
  • In Ontario, it is up to an individual worker to file a complaint with the Ministry of Labour. There are few workplace inspections even when more than one individual has filed a complaint against an employer.
  • Few employers are charged or fined.
  • It is important during the current economic crisis that labour laws are enforced. This will ensure that the brunt of the recession is not disproportionately carried by our poorest citizens.
  • Enforcing standards will also ensure that we recover from this crisis more quickly because high labour standards are associated with high performance economies.

Download this issue of Policy in Focus.

Summary

Features research and recommendations on the content and enforcement of the Ontario Employment Standards Act, and its effects on workers.

Topic(s)

Employment and labour