PLEASE NOTE THAT SIMILAR EXPLANATORY LETTERS WERE SENT TO ALL PARLIAMENTARY LEADERS, ALL LARGE CANADIAN UNION LEADERSHIP, AND ALL MAJOR NEWSPAPERS/MEDIA BROADCASTERS IN THE COUNTRY...IN THE INTERESTS OF AVOIDING DUPLICATIONS IN INFORMATION FOR READERS OF THIS BLOG, I HAVE NOT INCLUDED SIMILAR LETTERS SENT WITH THIS MAILING
The Right Honorable Stephane Dion,
Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada,
Office of Leader of the Loyal Opposition,
House of Commons,
cc: Liberal Leadership Candidates
Re: A Suggested Liberal Platform area to address a serious workplace inequity and put a concrete face on your “Liberal Pillar” of Social Justice and Equality
Let me congratulate you on your recent victory as the new leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.
I was the Federal Progressive Conservative Candidate in the Oshawa by-election of 1990 but feel that party has now abandoned me with its move to the extreme right. I believe that your platform on social justice, environmental sustainability, and the economy as well as your views on Canadian Nationalism will resonate with Canadians and thus I believe your party should form the next Government of Canada.
In the interests of “Social Justice”, I want to bring to your attention a serious workplace inequity that has arisen in Canada over the last number of years which is a form of discrimination as defined under the Canadian Human Rights Act and an infringement of worker rights as defined under the Canadian Employment Standards Act, 2000.
In the past, governments have taken measures to eliminate workplace inequities. Witness “Pay Equity” and “Equal Opportunity” Legislation which corrected serious workplace inequities. Now is the time to address the growing workplace inequity of Part Time and Contract Employment (Permatemps).
Employers, including governments, are increasingly hiring workers on a contract or part time basis to save money on benefits packages. The benefits of this practice to industry have undermined the security of the Canadian work force and in the long run will jeopardize the growth of the Canadian Economy. Without permanence in employment, how can Canadians assume long term debt such as mortgage and automobile or appliance payments? This kind of employment also deprives a growing percentage of workers benefits such as health and drug plans, disability plans, sick leave plans, child care benefits and company pension plans. It seems that we have two classes of workers--those lucky enough to be on permanent employment and thus earning benefits, and that increasing class of worker who is on contract or part time work who is devoid of benefits.
I am aware, for example, of Ontario workers who are getting 40 hours of steady and regular weekly employment but who are still classified temporary/part time without benefits after 10 years of employment, and despite the perception of a nursing shortage in Ontario, a minority of Ontario nurses have full time positions, most fitting in a number of part time “non-benefit” positions to provide a full work week.
Under the Canadian Employment Standards Act, workers doing similar work are required to earn equal pay which would include benefits and under The Canadian Human Rights Act, it is illegal to discriminate against any class of employee. Rights guaranteed by both of these pieces of legislation are being eroded by the growing part time/contract hiring practice in the Canadian work environment.
I urge the Liberal Party of Canada to develop a legislative framework for a ”Fairness and Ethics in Employment Practices Commission” which would become a formal part of their program in the next Federal Election.
Such a Commission would have authority to
a) Revert long-term part time workers to full time workers,
b) Insure that an ethical percentage of a company’s work force is indeed classified permanent,
c) Insure that part time workers could not be discharged because they were approaching full time status,
d) Insure that government hiring set a model of permanence for private business to duplicate,
e) insure that contract workers were formally offered positions as permanent employees once they had successfully served a stated tenure and insure that they could not be released because they were reaching that period of permanence,
f) Monitor part time/contract employees for all employers over a stated size (say 200 employees) and insure that the proportion of non-permanent employees continued to shrink.
g) Insure that all part time and contract workers in Canada were provided benefits equivalent to those offered their full time employees.
I believe that the above policy initiative areas would resonate with Canadians both as socially responsible to improve our "Canadian Way of Life" and to make a positive growth impact on the Canadian Economy.
Contact details removed
December 6, 2006