Diverse Workers Networks
The city of Toronto is composed of a diverse population, with almost 50% of the residents belonging to racialized groups. Labour Community Services works with the Filipino, Somali, Chinese, Tamil, and Ethiopian/Eritrean Workers Networks to advance social justice and employment goals that impact workers from these and other diverse racialized communities.
Their current mission is to achieve significant reforms to current labour legislations in Ontario – neither the Employment Standards Act nor the Labour Relations Act have been updated in many decades. In 2015, members of the various networks gave deputations to the special advisors on the Changing Workplaces Review panel, hosted a mix of social and educational events, and increased their involvement with civic engagement in the city.
Filipino Workers Network
Chinese Workers Network
Learn more at Chineselabour.ca and Twitter.
Somalian Workers Network
Ethiopian/Eritrean Workers Network
Tamil Workers Network
Changing Workplaces Review
Did you know? That the Ontario government is now conducting the “Changing Workplace Review”. This process will make changes to existing labour laws which are in urgent need of updates. The Employment Standards Act (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act (LRA) poorly reflect the realities of workers today.
Why is this important to you? The ESA and the LRA tells employers how workers should be treated and lets workers know their rights. How you work and get paid have changed, but employment laws are out of date.
All workers of Ontario are protected by the Labour Relations Act (LRA) or the Employment Standards Act (ESA). It is many years since the LRA and ESA were updated. Since that time many good jobs were replaced by precarious low wage jobs. Meanwhile employers have abused the system by:
- driving down wages,
- replacing full-time work to part-time,
- classifying employees as self-employed contractors,
- implementing two tier wage rates.
What’s at stake?
Better working conditions that can enable you to keep a roof over you and your family’s heads, and your child’s future as a worker. The government will hear from employers who may tell them things are fine the way they are. You need to act if we are to make improvements to the employment laws.
Add your voice so that we can have better labour laws and employment standards. Have your say as a worker and get in touch with people who can make changes happen.
To learn more about the Changing Workplaces Review, please visit: http://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/about/workplace.
Chinese Interagency Network
The Chinese Inter-Agency Network in 2015 was predominantly focused on the “Changing Workplaces Review,” which included reviewing Employment Standards Act and Labour Relations Act. Staff members from the LCS had the opportunity to present examples of successful collective agreements to the committee and to provide review summaries from the Toronto and York Region Labour Council. Our staff also facilitated workshops on labour advocacy stories from workers who were inadequately protected under current provisions of the Employment Standards Act and the Workplace Health and Safety Act.
As a bridge and voice between labour and community, our staff member also participated with the Labour Council’s Chinese Workers’ Network steering committee meetings in order to plan events for the Chinese community and create a community engagement strategy. By connecting with union members in the community, we were able to educate and engage them on labour issues, trainings, and broad issues of for working families.
City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Strategy: TO Prosperity
Labour Community Services is a member of the City’s Poverty Reduction Advisory Committee. Unanimously approved by City Council on November 3, 2015, TO Prosperity offers bold ideas toward building a city where poverty is tackled with determination.
The strategy sets out three overarching objectives, each of which are focused on the effects, trajectories, and causes of poverty:
- Address immediate needs: ensure that essential services are effective, well-funded, coordinated, and meet the needs of those living in poverty.
- Create pathways to prosperity: improve the quality of jobs in the city, attract investments to low income areas, and ensure that City programs and services are integrated, client-centered, and focused on early intervention.
- Drive Systemic Change: Create a more accountable and participatory government, where reducing poverty and inequality is an integral part of day-to-day business.
LCS is committed to ongoing collaboration with poverty reduction organizations across the City as part of its efforts to address systemic issues such as poverty.
6 Issue Areas
- Housing Stability: The city needs more quality affordable housing so that individuals and families with low-incomes do not need to sacrifice basic needs to live in decent conditions.
- Service Access: Not all residents find the services they need when they need them; the City can do more to make services available and effective.
- Transit Equity: Public transit needs to be affordable and reliable; it needs to take residents to opportunities and bring opportunities to neighbourhoods.
- Food Access: Torontonians, especially in many low-income communities, need better access to affordable, nutritious food.
- Quality Jobs and Livable Wages: Toronto cannot achieve its vision of being an equitable and inclusive city while so many residents are unable to find quality jobs.
- Systemic Change: Mobilizing an entire city to reduce and ultimately end poverty will take new ways of thinking and new ways of working.