Hill Street Studios via Getty Images
In British Columbia, where the race for the May 9 provincial election is heating up, the NDP has called for a $15 minimum wage in the province by 2021. This is a good move, and one that progressive people across Canada should get behind.
Across Canada, we search far too often for answers to explain why and how our loved ones die on the job - whether the sudden loss of an industrial accident, or the slow death from chemicals or other toxins in the workplace. In 2015, the most recent year for which numbers available, 852 workers died at work.
Premier of Ontario Photography
Supporting human rights and workers' struggles for higher wages and decent working conditions in other countries helps ensure that poverty-level wages and brutal working conditions do not distort investment decisions by large multi-national corporations. In the end, that just hurts all of us.
Colin McConnell via Getty Images
On December 7th, Premier Wynne was joined by four of her cabinet colleagues for an announcement about a unique agreement for "Community Benefits" for the Eglinton Crosstown transit project. The room was crowded with representatives from Metrolinx, the builder, community groups and unions.
Jupiterimages via Getty Images
This Labour Day over twenty-five thousand union members will march on the streets of Toronto with the Labour Council to celebrate the achievements of the labour movement. It is the largest parade on Labour Day in North America -- a testament to the determination of workers to mark our place in Canada's largest urban centre.
Millions of workers across Ontario lack access to paid sick days and job protection. For many, taking a sick day is simply not an option. This gap in access to an important protection disproportionately affects people in low-wage jobs and precarious work, a sure signal about the unfairness of employment standards.
Unions are being challenged to reimagine themselves beyond their immediate membership -- to include all working people, the unemployed, the precariously employed, the retired and the many diverse communities who are being marginalized within today's economy.
History has shown that when workers act collectively in their workplace they can improve their wages and working conditions. Such collective action has resulted in critical improvements in health and safety standards for workers and for decent wages and benefits.
The brazen attempt to force employees to work for less is part of a broader trend of employers pushing two-tier agreements at the bargaining table. After seeing these kinds of agreements in place in the United States, employers across the Canadian manufacturing sector have been pressing younger workers to settle for lower wages and fewer benefits.
There are many threads which interweave people working in stores and in factories, near and far. Yet too often we compartmentalize and divide issues, creating silos of concern. People interested in making more ethical consumption choices are forced to pit priorities against each other.
Imagine that Canada is a retail store in which 100 people work. 10 managers make $80,000 per year. One manager of the 10 trumps them all: he gets over $190.000. The other 90 people -- a majority of whom are women -- work as salespeople and cashiers, or in the stock room. 45 of them make less than $30,000 per year. Many make less than $20,000 per year. This is the retail landscape in Canada.
It is unthinkable anyone would lose their life over $112 bucks of gasoline. The dragging death of gas station attendant Jayesh Prajapati after he was run over by a driver fleeing the station without paying is another tragic reminder of how senseless and avoidable some crimes are.
We may only hear about the fatal incidents of gas theft, but according to the Toronto Star, between July 2009 and 2010 there were 1,618 reports of gas thefts in Toronto. That is more than 30 opportunities a week similar incidents could occur. Liberal MPP Mike Colle rightly sensed there is an opportunity to update Ontario's laws to require motorists to pre-pay for gas they pump.