On Saturday, June 16, 2018, a contingent from faculty associations across Ontario joined thousands who gathered in front of the Ministry of Labour at 400 University Ave. in downtown Toronto and marched to Queen’s Park. Themed as “WE the people”, the rally delivered a strong message to the incoming Doug Ford government to keep its hands off public services and to not undermine the hard-fought rights of the precarious workers and minimum wage earners, particularly the new labour laws passed under Bill 148. Prior to the election period and during the PC leadership race, Doug Ford went on record speaking against new changes to labour law introduced under Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, as well as the plan to increase the Ontario minimum wage to $15 an hour. The PC caucus also unanimously voted against Bill 148 at its final hearing.
The rally was organized by $15 and Fairness and the Ontario Federation of Labour. It featured a wide array of speakers including Naomi Klein, co-author of Canada’s Leap Manifesto, Chris Buckley, president of the Ontario Federation of Labour, Sandy Hudson, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Toronto, Dr. Ritika Goel, member of the Decent Work and Health Network & OHIP for All, Gobinder Singh Randhawa, chair of the Ontario Sikh and Gurudwara Council, Anita Agrawal, member of the Better Way Alliance, and Sarah Jama, co-founder of Disability Justice Network of Ontario.
The rally for Decent Work marks the first big public demonstration to take place since the election of a PC majority government under Doug Ford and has sent a loud and clear message to the incoming government. OCUFA has been a strong supporter of the Fight for $15 and Fairness movement and has advocated tirelessly, through its Fairness for Contract Faculty campaign, for the rights of contract faculty and campus workers to fair employment, equal pay and job security.