TORONTO, ONTARIO – (February 4, 2020) – Toronto’s public transit union, Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 113, joins over 175 health workers and trainees to call on Premier Doug Ford’s provincial government to reverse its labour protection rollbacks in support of Ontario’s public health.

The Decent Work & Health Network, a coalition of health professionals focused on addressing public health issues through improving working and employment conditions, released an open letter today highlighting the negative impacts of recent labour law changes, especially with the coronavirus outbreak.

Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) workers share health workers’ frustrations with the Ford government’s labour protection rollbacks.

“Toronto’s public transit workers have seen firsthand what happens when profit is put before people: the most vulnerable are targeted and we’re all worse for it,” said Carlos Santos, President of ATU Local 113. “The Ford Government’s endorsement of invasive workplace policies, as seen on the TTC, do nothing to keep Ontarians healthy, in reality, they’re just an additional burden on the sick – and a bureaucratic nightmare for the healthcare system.”

In 2019, the Ford Government reduced Personal Emergency Leave, which include zero paid sick days, while reinstituting an employer’s right to demand a sick note among other changes. At the TTC, a worker requires a diagnosis to stay home to get better without lost wages, and even with that, unionized public transit workers only receive 75 per cent of wages that other TTC staff in the same circumstances receive.

“It’s not too late for the provincial government and the TTC to do the right thing and change course to protect Ontario’s public health,” said Carlos Santos. “Ontarians don’t fake sick – they stay home to get better and keep others healthy.”

Read the Decent Work & Health Network’s open letter to the Ford Government here.

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