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Bill 139 -- McGuinty's Ontario Government Gets it Wrong!

Some time ago I wrote a blog entry about the Greatest Canadian Staffing Industry Challenge ... in which I identified misplaced government legislative change as a huge problem.

Maybe someone in the Ontario Government read my blog, realized that Ontario was in deep economic trouble already and so why not pile on the misery by attacking the staffing industry! Minister Fonseca, the Ontario Labor Minister aided and abetted by our old "friend" Vic Dhillon are doing just that!

Bill 139 is attempting to protect "the vulnerable worker' ... but is an agenda driven by misinformation, and a lack of understanding of the value our industry brings. The staffing industry in Canada upholds high ethical standards and conforms to the requirements of the labor laws. The suggestion is that "temporary workers" have been mistreated and therefore the members of our industry are all crooks ... so the Ontario Government feels the need to fix that!

The staffing industry provides employment to some 300,000 people in Ontario. Are any of them mistreated? Possibly ... maybe even probably, but why not address the issue and go after the companies that abuse the individuals or ignore our labor laws? Wouldn't that make a little more sense that trying to change a whole industry, when you really don't understand the implications ... despite repeated attempts to educate!

Bill 139 will result in lost jobs ... absolutely!

Bill 139 will very likely result in staffing companies going out of business ... particularly in light of the current economic conditions. Statistics Canada cites average profitability among Ontario staffing companies as 2.6%! Do you think we have room for the additional costs and administrative burden this bill will bring? NO!!! Do you think our clients want to pay more? NO!!!

Bill 139 will result in lost productivity in Ontario ... and being the ONLY jurisdiction in North America imposing these punitive measures on temporary help companies, it just means the work will be done elsewhere ... maybe China, or India!

It appears that there are some MPPs who get it! This is a quote from Joyce Savoline during second reading debate of this bill ...

I would like the minister to tell me why he is creating make-work projects when we have much more urgent business to attend to. Deflecting from that business with this bill does not serve us well in this Legislature.

Taking up valuable debating time when we are struggling is not appropriate. This is yet another bill and another example of a good idea not being followed through appropriately. It does not identify the hardships that will ensue for firms that are scrupulous and for their employees. I understand that there are some firms that take advantage of employees, but the legislation should target those companies and those companies only.

Did Minister Fonseca say, "Mr. McGuinty, I know that the economy is weak and that we don't have a plan to make it better, but what I'd like to do is make it harder for the businesses who are out there finding employment for transitional and temporary labourers to operate"? What planet are we on here?

Imagine ... the Ontario Government might concern itself with fixing the needs of an economy that has been decimated through losses in the manufacturing sector and now an "economic tsunami", instead of attacking a sector that creates jobs!

I am not noted for my political correctness ... and I am not about to change. I have some very pointed advice for Minister Fonseca and Premier McGuinty.