Editorial note: The following is a submitted open letter to Premier Doug Ford and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of The Kingstonist.
Dear Premier Ford,
The Kingston Faith and Justice Coalition is a group of people of faith who are concerned about matters of Social Justice.
We understand from Deena Ladd of the Workers’ Action Center that you could easily and immediately prevent many temporary workers’ deaths and injuries on the job.
We know that, as of now, companies employing workers from temp agencies cannot be held responsible for the cost of their injuries and deaths in the same way as they can be penalized for the on-the-job accidental injuries and deaths of directly hired workers under the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act. This results in some companies, such as a North York bakery, using temp workers for the most dangerous jobs, which sometimes result in needless injuries and deaths. This practice also means that these companies do not think it necessary to provide workers with much safety training or provide as much safety equipment or supervision as they would do if they were employing workers for whose accidental injuries or deaths they would possibly be held responsible for and penalized for under the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act.
We deplored your 2018 ending of equal pay for temp workers doing the same job as directly paid workers, your scrapping of two paid sick days for all workers, and your cancelling of the $15 per hour minimum wage. Now, we learn from Ms. Ladd that there is legislation on the books to make these unscrupulous companies, who put temp workers at unnecessary risk, responsible for temp workers’ safety. Apparently this legislation (new regulations under the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Act, titled section 83(4), which were drafted by the Wynne government, but not put into effect when the Ford government came to power) only awaits your signature to come into effect and better protect temp workers.
If this is true, we urge you most strongly to sign this legislation and make it law. Surely you do not want on your conscience the deaths and injuries of unprotected temp workers at unscrupulous companies.
Kingston Faith and Justice Coalition