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Ontario business group warns against major provincial labour law changes

A group representing Ontario businesses has written Premier Kathleen Wynne and warns against making major changes to labour laws in the province.
A group representing Ontario businesses has written Premier Kathleen Wynne and warns against making major changes to labour laws in the province. Sean Kilpatrick / File / The Canadian Press

TORONTO – The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is urging Premier Kathleen Wynne against making major changes to the province’s labour laws.

The business group wrote a letter to Wynne Monday about the province’s Changing Workplaces review, a top-to-bottom look at the province’s labour laws that is expected to usher in major changes.

Issues covered by the review include the process by which workers can unionize, work scheduling, sick time and sick notes, emergency leave and leave for those who experience domestic violence, and the issue of misclassifying employees as independent contractors so that they’re exempt from labour laws.

READ MORE: Panel finds ‘serious problem’ with enforcement of labour laws in Ontario

Chamber of Commerce vice-president Karl Baldauf says employers are particularly concerned about potential changes to unionization.

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He warned that allowing unions to use a card-based certification process to let employees to form a union, without holding a vote on the matter, could see workers unionized against their wishes.

He says businesses likely could absorb some minor changes to labour laws, but a major overhaul could have unintended economic consequences that ultimately could lead to job losses.

READ MORE: Why employers are getting away with breaking Canada’s labour laws

He also says raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour could put some businesses in jeopardy.

Labour Minister Kevin Flynn says a $15 minimum wage isn’t part of the review – but he didn’t rule out making that change down the road. He says the government will make the Changing Workplaces report public in the near future, with plans to act on it shortly thereafter.

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