Every four years, we as citizens of Canada are lucky enough to have the opportunity to vote for somebody who we feel will fight for the best interest of our community. Recently, we have had a busy election season, first with the provincial election, and most recently with the municipal election. And although these election dates have passed, does it mean we should refrain from meaningful political discourse? This is a question that Sault Ste Marie needs to ask with the Ontario PC government and their intent to repeal Bill 148.
While Bill 148 is not perfect by any means, it does provide a number of workers’ rights that will soon disappear under the Ontario Open for Business Act brought forward by Doug Ford and his PC party. In a city that is largely represented by the working class, I find it more important than ever to engage our local MPP, Ross Romano, to find out what his stance is.
Does he support the removal of workers’ rights under the repeal of Bill 148, or will he simply tread the party line and support the Ontario Open for Business Act? I think we as not only working class citizens, but also as Mr Romano’s constituents deserve to know what he supports. After all, he was elected to represent his constituents not the PC party and Doug Ford.
Furthermore, the local Chamber of Commerce has praised the Ontario Open for Business act in a recent media release. And while I do agree with some of their positions, such as the minimum wage increase being too much, too fast, I think the press release is fairly short sighted when discussing the bill and how it will impact the day-to-day lives of Sault Ste Marie citizens.
I understand it is the Chamber’s position to strengthen local business, membership base, and ultimately their revenue, but do they support the following parts of the bill they failed to mention in their media release?
- Removal of 10 personal emergency leave days per calendar year, two of which are paid.
- Providing only 3 sick days per calendar year, two bereavement days per calendar year, three family responsibility days, all unpaid.
- Allowing employers to cancel shifts with little to no notice with no repercussion.
- Reduced vacation time for employees with 5 years tenure
Studies have shown that working sedentary jobs or shift work can have negative impacts on a person’s health, both physical and mental. As a city in which a high percentage of workers are employed at sedentary jobs (such as call centres) or work shift work, these are very real concerns for the Sault’s workforce. Something both the Chamber and the provincial government need to keep in mind is that without a healthy workforce – and yes, sometimes taking time off is important for maintaining health – our economy will come to a standstill.
So where does Mr Romano stand on this? Surely if Ross Romano can take the time to send out a Thanksgiving media release, he can take the time to address his constituents at a time when his party announces its intentions to pass a bill that could have a significant impact on our community.
I encourage all working class citizens to email or call Ross Romano, asking for clarification on his position on this bill. After all if we can’t count on him for a simple clarification on such an important matter, what can we count on? We need to count on ourselves and remain active in political discourse, holding our elected officials accountable for their decisions throughout their entire term, not just on election day.
Please join me in emailing our local MPP, Ross Romano, to voice our concerns as his constituents. [email protected]