On July 20, OCUFA submitted formal recommendations on how Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act can be improved. The recommendations focus on delivering fairness for contract faculty who teach a growing number of courses at Ontario universities, but lack job security, receive low pay, and often do not have access to benefits. This follows two weeks of public committee hearings, at which more than ten faculty associations presented their priorities for improving the bill.
Since the outset of the Changing Workplaces Review in 2015, OCUFA has been advocating for changes to employment and labour law that will create fair and decent jobs for Ontario workers including equal pay, fair scheduling, more secure and stable jobs, and the right to join a union.
OCUFA’s response to Bill 148 focused on five key areas:
- All workers should receive equal pay and have equal access to benefits, regardless of their employment status as contract, part-time, casual, or temporary.
- The use of sequential or discontinuous contracts to prevent the achievement of workplace rights should be eliminated.
- Employers should be required to provide workers with at least two weeks’ notice of work.
- The Ontario Labour Relations Board should be empowered to redefine the scope of bargaining units or consolidate bargaining units that are in the same union.
- The Labour Relations Act should be updated to ensure workers can organize collectively to improve their conditions and join a union.
The committee hearings wrapped up in Toronto on July 21, and any changes to the bill are expected to be confirmed in August. The government has signaled that the legislation could be passed as soon as late September, but continued political pressure will be important to ensure positive measures are adopted without delay.