Today, Ontario Liberal Party leadership candidate Steven Del Duca unveiled a bold action plan that will ensure that both employees and employers have the opportunity to truly prosper in an economy marked by rapid disruption and constant change.
Del Duca committed to create an Economic Dignity Charter that would include a number of components, including the following:
- A basic group benefits package to all Ontario workers who do not currently have one - this would include the creation of a portable, government-facilitated benefits program for self-employed and contract workers, as well as those employed by small businesses.
- Ongoing, lifelong training and retraining initiatives that help to align education to job opportunities in order to ensure that Ontario’s talent pool remains its greatest competitive advantage.
- Potential amendments to the Employment Standards Act that would set a $15/hour minimum wage and then tie future increases to the rate of inflation and other economic indicators
“For past generations, people like my parents who came to this country in search of real opportunity, there was an understanding that a person could go as far in life as their talent and effort would take them,” said Del Duca. “But far too often today, this is no longer the case because our economy has changed. Economic dignity should not be reserved for the lucky few. Basic workplace benefits and training opportunities are needed more than ever before and government has a responsibility to lead.”
Del Duca’s Economic Dignity Charter would be the result of a wide range of consultations with employers, labour representatives and other impacted partners to ensure that it strikes the right balance and meets the needs of all participants in Ontario’s economy. The basic benefits package would address issues such as parental leave, pension and life insurance, health and dental support and it could tied to the employee rather than the employer ensuring portability. It could also include a variety of financial incentives, in particular in order to facilitate participation by small business owners.
“I want to create an economy in which both entrepreneurs and their employees can truly thrive,” stated Del Duca. “Employers need a properly-trained workforce and employees deserve to have a basic level of support so that they can be healthy and productive. The Economic Dignity Charter represents true progress and will help deliver lasting and comprehensive prosperity.”
It has recently been reported that up to one-third of paid employees in Ontario do not have employer-provided medical or dental benefits. In addition, an ever-increasing proportion of the workforce today can be considered precarious, temporary or involuntarily part-time and are therefore much less likely to have the dignity and security that comes from having a basic benefits package. Lastly, Ontario’s economic success continues to be hindered by a growing skills mismatch that needs to be addressed.
The Ontario Liberal Party will choose its next leader on March 7th, 2020. Del Duca was the first candidate to register, has released 116 endorsements and has so far toured to 80 communities across the province.