Ontario Can't Be An "Outlier" on Labour Law Reform: Elliott
04 July 2012
“Why would anyone outside the union itself want to defend an organization that cares only about itself, and undermines the best interests of its membership by so thoroughly milking them, then alienating the forces it needs for continued prosperity?”
- Kelly McParland, The National Post, July 3, 2012
QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario can compete, create good jobs and prosper in the global marketplace – but only if we keep pace with the labour law reforms being implemented by our major competitors, PC Deputy Leader Christine Elliott said today.
“Ontario is clinging to outdated labour laws – many created in the 40’s. We’re lagging far behind most other advanced industrialized jurisdictions,” Elliott said.
Elliott noted that “while Europe, Australia and New Zealand are ahead of us, the United States is working diligently to reform its labour laws. Canada is the only outlier today, falling further and further behind our major trading partners.”
“So my message to these labour leaders is this,” Elliott said. “We cannot afford to compound our competitive disadvantage by clinging to labour laws that date back to the last century.”
The 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.
“Rigid labour laws and inefficient bureaucracies make businesses more hesitant to expand and hire, increasing unemployment,” Elliott said, referencing several studies that showed higher average incomes, economic and job growth in U.S. states that enacted such reforms, compared to those that did not.
“It’s unfortunate to see union leaders reacting so harshly to ideas that would provide more economic opportunity for their own members. After all, under the status quo in Ontario has lost nearly 300,000 manufacturing jobs and trail all of Canada in wage growth.
“We need to go in a new direction for competitiveness and job creation – and the ideas we have put forward in Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets propose a way forward.”