This week, Ontario's Labour Minister, Monte McNaughton, announced protections for immigrant workers. Martin Regg Cohn writes:
Belatedly, after long belittling labour unions, Doug Ford’s Tories have rediscovered the power of a workforce unleashed — just in time for the coming provincial election.
Leading the way is Labour Minister Monte McNaughton. This week, he unveiled a flurry of legislative protections for working people, not least for new immigrants whose professional credentials are too often ignored.
But Doug Ford -- a master of self-sabotage -- screwed things up:
Getting in the way was the premier, whose penchant for putting his foot in his mouth keeps dragging down his government. On Monday, Ford lapsed into gratuitous tropes about foreigners coveting “the dole” in Canada — generating enough negative coverage to gum up McNaughton’s carefully planned rollout.
McNaughton could really improve working conditions for many Ontarians:
McNaughton’s actions could be of lasting benefit to immigrant workers who have endured the painful humiliation of employers and regulators dismissing their foreign experience. As revealed by my Toronto Star colleague Nicholas Keung, new legislation would compel provincial regulatory bodies to recognize the credentials of the workers they oversee, from architects and teachers to plumbers and electricians.
Politicians have long bemoaned the fate of talented immigrants reduced to driving taxis or delivering pizzas. Lest anyone devalue those drivers on the front lines, they too are getting an assist from McNaughton, who will enshrine their rights to use the facilities where they do deliveries.
The problem is that -- whatever McNaughton says -- Ford has contempt for ordinary workers. And he has a record to prove it:
This is the government that rolled back the comprehensive labour reforms of the previous Liberal government — from paid sick days to a $15 minimum wage and protections for precarious workers. In fairness to McNaughton, those weren’t his decisions, and he resolved to clean up the inherited mess before it was too late.
How will this end? We'll see.