After years of work by labour and community groups, the Ontario government has passed Bill 148, the landmark legislation that will increase the minimum wage and provide equal pay for part-time and full-time workers.
CMG congratulates all those who worked for years on this bill, and the Ontario government for pushing back against significant opposition from business groups. It’s gratifying to see long-overdue protections and money directed at vulnerable minimum wage workers, and the bill makes it easier for certain workers (homecare, temporary agency workers) to join a union.
The growing abuse of ‘independent contractors’ who should be ‘employees’ is our next big fight – in the factual/reality TV business and beyond
However, the celebration is a bit more muted for those of us in the independent entertainment and media industries. The government heard through the Changing Workplaces Review about the growing abuse of ‘independent contractors’ who should be ‘employees’ – a loophole becoming more common in the expanding gig economy. Bill 148 has one goody in this regard: there will be 175 more enforcement officers checking for this abuse.
The need to address the burgeoning ‘independent contractor’ designation is our next big fight – in the factual/reality TV business and beyond. These workers are blocked from access to Employment Insurance and other statutory benefits that employees enjoy. Independent contractors are prevented from unionizing and collective bargaining. Their numbers are growing, and we know precarious and unsteady work can be damaging on many social and economic fronts.
CMG pushing for the TV/Movie industry to be among the first reviewed by the Ontario labour ministry
The CMG is pushing for an employment designation called ‘contract employee’ that would give some freelance workers more employee benefits, even though they often go from one workplace to another. Work on such a new category needs to continue.
The Ontario labour ministry is now examining regulations within specific sectors of the economy. CMG is pushing for the TV/Movie industry to be among the first reviewed so working rules within the sector can be improved. For example, the entire industry is exempt from hours of works rules in the Employment Standards Act, something that needs to change, as many workers in this industry face a lack of work-life balance and move quickly towards burn-out.
Our campaign has launched petition demanding a review, aimed at Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn.