Making Ontario Open for Business Act will scrap key Liberal workplace laws

Premier Doug Ford's government will freeze Ontario's minimum wage at $14 for another two years with a sweeping new bill that scraps many of the labour reforms brought in by the previous Liberal government in favour of a more pro-business agenda.

The omnibus legislation, unveiled Tuesday, is designed to fulfil one of Ford's central campaign promises, to make Ontario "open for business." It will change several provincial laws, notably employment standards.

The new act will repeal the bulk of the Kathleen Wynne government's Bill 148, labour legislation that gives all Ontario workers a minimum of two paid sick days and forces employers to pay part-time and casual staff at the same rate as full-time workers.

The bill announced Tuesday, called the Making Ontario Open for Business Act, scraps the two paid sick days legislated by the previous government. It also cancels 10 personal emergency leave days and replaces that with up to three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities, all unpaid.

The bill also eliminates pay-equity for part-time and casual workers.

Christine, a woman who the CBC News has agreed not to identify to protect her job, works four part-time minimum wage jobs in Richmond Hill, Ont. 

Business groups such as the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Retail Council of Canada have been urging the Ford government to take away the new sick day and pay equity protections granted to Ontario workers this year.

On Tuesday, Ontario Chamber of Commerce chief executive Rocco Rossi said Bill 148 was a case of "too much, too fast."

In a statement, he said: "The compounding labour reforms and unintended consequences came at too high a cost to Ontario's economy. We are absolutely thrilled that the Government of Ontario is holding strong in its commitment to keep Ontario open for business."

Labour unions, however, were not enthused about the new bill.

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