Sunday, November 30, 2008

Suggestion to Opposition Party Leadership as they Draft their Common Plan for
Economic Recovery Possibly Led by a
New Coalition Government

Liberal, NDP, and Bloc Québécois Leadership and Selected MP's
Selected National Press

Let me commend the opposition parties for working to form a coalition government to get Canada's economy back on track.

As you work toward a common platform, let me make a suggestion which I believe is one key to Canada’s long term economic health. Any effective plan must 1) retain and produce jobs, 2) increase consumer spending to drive production, and, 3) increase worker’s confidence in their job security which would work to increase their consumption. My suggestions following work to improve all three fronts.

The nature of work is changing so that the bulk of new employment is temporary, part time, contract, permatemp or casual employment. According to recent Stats Can reports, 23% of Ontario workers were employed in positions defined as part time in October, 2008, while the figure stood at 21.9% nationally. The insecurity inherent in part time work, contract, and casual employment undermines our economy by effectively blocking over 20% of the workforce from the purchase of big ticket items like houses, automobiles, and appliances, and all of the spinoff jobs associated with increased consumption of these items.

The growing trend to casual employment will exacerbate the problem in the future as more and more employers hire part time and contract workers to improve their bottom line by denying workers the salary, benefits packages and security provided to their full time peers. The Federal and Provincial Governments are as guilty of this abuse as private employers.

On another level, this trend toward part time, contract, and casual employment works against our national ideal of eliminating discrimination in our society. It sets up a system of workforce discrimination whereby different workers doing the same job in the same workplace are benefiting inequitably from their efforts. Courts in America have increasingly found this illegal costing governments and companies like IBM and Microsoft exorbitant court settlements. I believe the Federal Government has a moral responsibility to pass legislation to eliminate this workplace discrimination. The suggestions I give below also accomplish this goal.

Some may believe that it is not the government’s role to regulate or interfere in the workplace but in fact government did intervene in the workplace with Employment Equity and Equal Opportunity Legislation to correct serious inequities and I believe it is in the national economic and social interest for governments to intervene once again.

The European Union has recently adopted some such protections and reports indicate the Obama Administration will implement harsh penalties on employers who would “misclassify” employees.

As part of your economic recovery program, I urge that your coalition develop a legislative framework for a "Fairness and Ethics in Employment Practices Commission which would be an important long term stimulus to the economy by adding job security to the 23% of the Canadian workforce presently in some form of casual employment. This would stimulate our National Economy with their increased “big ticket” consumption.

Such a Commission would have authority to monitor employment trends for employers of over 300 workers and in the extreme implement measures to ensure compliance with the stated objectives to:

a) Revert long-term part time and contract workers to full time status after 3 years with the exception of part time work necessitated by school/college/university attendance,

b) Insure that an ethical percentage of a company’s work force is indeed classified as permanent with equal salary and benefits to peers with the same employer,

c) Insure that part time and contract workers could not be discharged because they were approaching full time status by virtue of reaching the 3 year term,

d) Ensure that any staff reductions of part time, contract, and casual employees were terminated for just cause or if terminated by reason of overstaffing were not replaced for a reasonable time to insure legitimacy for the dismissal,

e) Insure that government hiring set a model of permanence for private business to duplicate,

f) Insure that contract workers were formally offered positions as permanent employees once they had successfully served a three year tenure and insure that they could not be released because they were reaching that period of permanence,

g) Monitor part time/contract employees for large employers (over 300) to insure that the proportion of non-permanent employees continued to shrink over subsequent reporting periods.

h) Insure that all part time and contract workers in Canada were provided benefits equivalent to those offered full time employees with the same employer.
As stated in point (e) above, I also believe that governments should be a role model for enlightened employment practices and inform all departments that part time, contract, casual, or permatemp positions are no longer to be offered and should be replaced with permanent positions effective after a pre-defined probationary period.

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.

I am continuing to monitor and report on this problem on my site


William Longworth,
Contact Details Removed

December 1, 2008