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Ontario government not moving ahead with plan to cut workers statutory holidays

The Eaton Centre in Toronto is photographed on Thursday, March 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

TORONTO — The head of Unifor says he has been assured by Ontario’s premier that the province will not proceed with a plan to cut statutory holidays for retail workers.

Jerry Dias says Premier Doug Ford told him today a plan to change the Retail Business Holidays Act and reduce the number of mandatory statutory holidays for from nine to three is off.

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Dias says the government had raised the idea earlier this week in a conference call with retail sector stakeholders including the union.

Workers would still have been entitled to Christmas, Good Friday and Canada Day under the now-abandoned plan presented by the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services.

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Ford’s office confirmed in a statement today that it is not moving forward with the proposal.

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Dias says when he heard about the plan he was outraged and thought it was “completely inconsistent” with Ford’s statements about the contribution of retail workers.

“That was the ultimate slap in the face to the workers that have done so much, I couldn’t believe that anyone would be so foolish to even contemplate this during the pandemic,” he said. “We had a very short conversation where (Ford) told me they were killing it in its tracks.”