It’s not just about the work we do. It’sabout the promise that lies behind thework. The promise that if we work hard,get educated, improve our skills, we canall do better.We’re advancing six good ideas to helpmake that promise a reality; to make workbetter, for all Ontarians.And you can be a part of the conversation.
THE T LO RIGH ING C RN HIPS MA TC JO AL B JOB LEA ERS HM TN AK PAR INGTalking About JobsSome Ontarians are fortunate to be We know many of these jobs are tempo- been focused on preparing just-in-timeworking in the job of their dreams. rary, part time, or self-employment; yet workers with just-in-time training to do many of the jobs we lost were full-time, just-in-time work.But, far too many Ontarians are stuck in permanent jobs.bad jobs with little hope of making them As Ontario stumbles out of recession,better. Even before the recession, a growing it’s time to shift the focus and change number of Ontarians were experiencing the pattern from tinkering with people’sDangerous jobs. Dead-end jobs. a deeper level of income and job insecu- resumes to providing the kind of skills rity than they had in a generation. The training workers really need to improveJobs where you don’t get paid what you gap between the rich and the rest of us their chances. It’s time to invest in On-are owed. Jobs that exploit migrant got worse, the middle class was feeling tario’s workforce by creating careerworkers. squeezed, and Ontario’s poor fell further pathways and ensuring job mobility. behind. Some have done better than oth-Jobs that pay so low, you can work full- ers. Some, such as racialized Canadians, The experiment of putting labour mar-time and still rank among the working Aboriginal peoples and new immigrants, ket policies on autopilot has failed. It ispoor. have been left behind as Ontario’s labour time to update our approach, our poli- market becomes more polarized. cies, and our laws so that we have 21stWorking two or three jobs, not knowing century tools to build the good jobs ofwhat shifts or how many hours you have The conventional wisdom is that a job the future.to work in any given week — it makes it is the ticket out of poverty but, in real-hard to plan the week or to put food on ity, one in three Ontario children living Governments can take action to supportthe table, let alone try to help your kids in poverty have families with at least one the creation of good jobs — the kind thatwith their homework. parent who works full-time. Our chal- sustain families and offer a pathway out lenge is to improve the quality of the of poverty for those still on the sidelines.Jobs that can’t sustain a family. Jobs that jobs that already exist in Ontario and tocan’t sustain a community. create the conditions for even better jobs Here are six good ideas that Ontario’s in the future — so that our children and political parties should take up to sup-We can do better than this. grandchildren can enjoy a better quality port good jobs in Ontario. of life.The 2008 worldwide recession knockedOntario’s economy on its knees. Post- To hand the next generation of workers arecession, the focus has been on the better work life, we need to grapple withnumber of jobs created instead of talk- the mistakes of the past. For at least aing about the quality of those new jobs. decade, our investment in training has
THE RIGHT A TO CHOOSE A ST EMP BET AN LO TE UNION DA YM R PROTE C FOR M TION RD ET SA CT IGRAN WORK T ERSSix Good Ideas About Jobs1. LOCAL JOB MATCHMAKING. It sets the minimum standards for our 3. PARTNERSHIPS FOR work lives: the minimum wages we can WORKPLACE-BASED LEARNING.Imagine how different things would be expect to earn, the maximum hours weif employers, unions, workers, advocates can be forced to work, the number of va- Programs that offer literacy and basicand government acted like they’re cations and sick days we’ve earned, and skills training in the workplace provideplaying on the same team, working the rules in place when we quit or are workers with the learning opportuni-together to enhance existing jobs and fired. ties they need. They result in increasedcreate new ones. It may set the minimum standard for productivity, improved health and safety Imagine employment programs that work, but the Employment Standards Act on the job, and greater job mobility forwere tailored to what the people and was written to reflect workplace issues workers.businesses in your community really of yesteryear. More of us are working in These programs work best when every-need. ways that mean we are not protected by one — employers, employees, unions, Imagine training programs that give the Act. It’s time for an upgrade. literacy organizations and governmentspeople the supports they need to change But modernizing the laws that guide — join forces to create workplace-basedcareers or re-enter the labour market how we work in Ontario isn’t enough learning opportunities that fill a real lo-and find a better job. — because a law without teeth is, well, cal need. It’s time to repair the mismatch toothless. Both the law and its enforce- It can’t happen, however, without gov-between skills and jobs in Ontario — ment need to be updated to ensure that ernment leadership. Adequate govern-employers who can’t find the right people all employees in Ontario are protected. ment funding for infrastructure supportand people who can’t find the right job. Imagine if all workers had confi- is the glue that holds these partnerships Whether it’s skills training and dence that they could rely on a bedrock together.upgrading, social or economic of worker protection laws that had realdevelopment, let’s get all sectors in teeth, were regularly enforced, and re-Ontario working together from the same flected today’s labour market. 4. THE RIGHT JOB FORplaybook. Together, we can build the Ontarians are a hard-working people. INTERNATIONALLY TRAINEDOntario we want. If the jobs are there, they will take them; PROFESSIONALS. but every worker deserves to know their rights are protected, through a modern- We know the problem well: doctors2. A NEW AND IMPROVED ized Employment Standards Act — pro- trained overseas are driving taxis at aEMPLOYMENT STANDARDS ACT. tections that reflect the demands on the time when we have a shortage; interna- 21st century worker. tionally-educated engineers are moppingThe Employment Standards Act is the floors at a time when our roads are crum-safety net for most workers in Ontario. bling.
www.talkingaboutjobs.ca Ontario attracts some of the most ed- 5. THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE A UNION. 6. BETTER PROTECTION FORucated, creative and innovative people MIGRANT WORKERS.from every corner of the world. But we’re After the Second World War, employersnot doing enough to maximize their con- and workers reached a temporary con- They travel great distances leaving theirtribution to the economy. sensus that allowed Ontarians to exer- own families behind to take care of our Imagine how different things would cise their basic right to join a union if kids and our parents and grow our food,be if our provincial government built on they choose — a right that’s protected by yet we treat them as cheap and dispos-existing programs to give internationally the constitution. able labour and leave them open to seri-educated professionals the tools they ous abuse and exploitation. Without a union, when problems arise Imagine what Ontario would look likeneed to adapt their skills and transition in the workplace, workers are on their if we extended workplace protectionsmore readily into our job market. Then own. for migrant workers so they couldevery worker is able to use all of the skills Unions are there to assist workers exercise their rights without fear of beingthey possess to contribute to a more vi- along the way, just like an agent would deported.brant Ontario. assist a hockey player in bargaining his In the case of temporary migrant work- Imagine an expansion of paid intern- or her rights with an employer. ers, these protections include very basicships that give newcomers the Canadi- Joining a union is how workers in rights, such as protection from hav-an work experience employers say they Ontario have, historically, turned bad, ing passports and personal documentsneed; a provincial mentorship program poorly paid, dangerous jobs — in mines, seized by their employers, and puttingto help new Canadians build the social in factories — into better jobs, with an end to the current practice of allow-networks that so many of us take for better pay, better hours, and better ing employers to charge temporary mi-granted. grant workers for the cost of job recruit- benefits. But changes in the labour Imagine employers getting the help ment. market and government policies have How we treat our most vulnerablethey need to find the talent they’re look- made it harder for workers who most workers is a reflection of how our societying for and to recruit, assess, integrate need the protection of a union to join regards the basic Canadian values of de-and retain employees with training and one. cency and fairness.experience gained overseas. Imagine an amended Labour Rela- Ontario was built on the premise that tions Act that provides workers with a all workers would have equal access to meaningful way to exercise their consti- opportunity. It’s part of what makes On- tutional right to organize a union in the tario such a great province to live in. 21st century economy.