Businesses Will Thrive With Modernized Labour Laws: Hudak
18 July 2012
“The Conservatives have put forward a slew of thoughtful and potentially helpful suggestions about the province’s economic reality, and how updating labour laws could help change things for the better.”
- Chris Vander Doelen, The Windsor Star July 17, 2012
AJAX – Ontario can again lead Canada in competitiveness by getting our economic fundamentals right – and a key step is the reform of outmoded labour laws to create a climate for investment and job creation, PC Leader Tim Hudak said today.
Hudak made the comments following a tour of Dupont Canada’s Ajax facility, where 160 employees manufacture paint and other coatings for Honda and Magna automotive products. The region has been hard-hit by Ontario’s troubled economy; unemployment is 9.0 per cent, well above the provincial average, which remains stuck at an unacceptable 7.7 per cent.
Last month, as part of his integrated plan for turning our province around, Hudak unveiled Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets – the second in a series of PC discussion papers on bold new ideas for creating jobs. The series complements other elements of Hudak’s pro-growth plan for Ontario, which includes lower taxes on job-creating businesses, more affordable energy, reducing the regulatory burden and reining in government overspending with measures like a mandatory, across-the-board public sector wage freeze.
“The world has changed, and our economy has changed with it,” Hudak said. “But the rules governing the workplace have not. They date back to the 1940s – an age of rotary phones and typewriters – when protectionism was the norm, we faced little competition and investment capital wasn’t nearly as mobile as it is today.”
Ontario’s labour laws and institutions need to be hauled into the 21st century just as Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. have done, recognizing that today’s workers are very different from past generations. Hudak added. “We’re better educated and trained, more mobile, and face greater time pressures and a need for more flexible work arrangements.”
The Ontario PC white paper proposes action in four key areas: giving the individual worker a choice on becoming or remaining a union member; making union leaders more accountable to unionized employees; modernizing tendering rules to open up more government work to private sector competition; and reforming Ontario’s workplace agencies for a more flexible workforce and job creation.
Hudak acknowledged that Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets offers bold and controversial ideas. “But under the status quo, 600,000 Ontarians are unemployed. We’ve lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs in nine years. And wage growth is dead last among all provinces.
“It’s time for a new direction for Ontario.”