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For the Record: What did Laurie do? (Oct. 24)

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A special mid-week edition of For The Record, since MPP and Minister of Labour Laurie Scott has been extremely busy and focused on the elimination of Bill 148.  The PCS are replacing  the previous Liberal government’s personal emergency-leave rules. Now workers will be able to take up to three days for personal illness, two for bereavement and three for family responsibilities — all unpaid. (Currently the rules allowed employees to take up to 10 personal emergency-leave days a year, with two of them paid.)  There is a strong look at the highlighted changes here.

Scott stood with Jim Wilson and Merrilee Fullerton to speak at Leland Industries in Scarborough. Minister Scott livestreamed the entire press conference which can still be seen in full at this link.

When it came time for Scott to speak, she said she focused on three key questions while reviewing every aspect of Bill 148.  

  • “What was the impact on Ontario’s economy?”
  • “Does this provide real benefit for the people?”
  • “How do we ensure Ontario is open for business?”

Scott then announced through that review that she believed it best to keep Ontario’s minimum wage at $14. “While some people called for us to roll back Ontario’s minimum wage, we recognized that would be immensely unfair to Ontario’s workers.” As of October 2020, Ontario minimum wage will raise by inflation saying “Ontario businesses and workers deserve a minimum wage determined by economics, not politics.” This same line was repeated in a Tweet after the press conference. Speaking on Metro Morning (CBC) the day after, a woman from Richmond Hill called this decision like getting “kicked in the stomach.”

This news comes on a day where the parliamentary budget office also released a report showing that minimum wage hikes help reduce income inequality.  

Scott indicated the government is working on a plan to ensure that minimum wage workers pay no income tax. “If you want minimum wage workers to have more money in their pocket, stop taxing them.” This matches a promise from Premier Doug Ford during the election, though no strategy was laid out for when this would come into affect, how much it would cost or how it would be paid for.

Scott claimed these moves are “deliberate and thoughtful, unlike the last minute reforms imposed by bill C-148” and once again repeated the line that this will “prove to the world that Ontario is open for business.”

The Ontario Federation of Labour released a statement and held a press conference immediately saying there was no consultation done on these decisions and that “By taking away these basic protections that put more money in the pockets of low wage workers, the government will hurt women, workers of colour, and newcomers the most.

This morning, October 24, the town of Lindsay awoke to the sight of a vandalized office on Lindsay St. S., Laurie Scott’s constituency office. The office was spray painted with the words “Attack Workers We Fight Back $15” and windows and doors were smashed. Scott has yet to make a statement.

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