Changing the workplace landscape to benefit the health of all Ontarians

Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, Medical Officer of Health for the Sudbury & District (SDHU), spoke today at a public consultation hosted by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. A series of public consultations is being held across the province to explore possible changes to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) and the Employment Standards Act (ESA) to best protect workers while supporting businesses in Ontario’s changing economy.

“I care very much about this review because workplaces are a critical determinant of individual, community and population health,” said Dr. Sutcliffe. “The SDHU works to promote and protect health. The relationships between work and health are vital and within our public health work, we see directly the health impacts of precarious employment.”

Dr. Sutcliffe shared a number of recommendations for changes to the ESA and LRA. She supported measures to increase employee control and engagement, and for not allowing differential treatment in pay, benefits and working conditions for workers whether part-time, contract, temporary, or casual. All workers regardless of the size of the enterprise should be allowed emergency leave or unexpected absences. Also recommended was the inclusion an increase in the minimum mandatory vacation entitlement.

Dr. Sutcliffe strongly urged that any proposed changes be subject to a “healthy workplace impact assessment.” This would ensure that all proposed changes would be carefully assessed to determine if they would be expected to improve the health of the workplace.

“We have a unique opportunity to make our Ontario a place where the changing workplace landscape is transformed into an opportunity that benefits all Ontarians,” added Dr. Sutcliffe.

A complete listing of Dr. Sutcliffe’s recommendations and speaking notes can be found at www.sdhu.com.

This item was last modified on July 24, 2015