Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak addresses his proposed changes to labour laws on Wednesday at Queen's Park.
Credits: Antonella Artuso/Toronto Sun
TORONTO - Ontario workers would be able to opt out of collective agreements and union dues under dramatic changes to provincial workplace laws proposed by PC Leader Tim Hudak.
Employers would no longer be required to collect dues on behalf of unions and secret ballots would be restored in certification votes, the PCs say.
Hudak released his latest white paper Tuesday, entitled Paths to Prosperity: Flexible Labour Markets, which proposes significant rewrites to the labour rules in Ontario.
"The provincial government should lead the way by ending these automatic paycheque deductions," the paper says. "Private sector employers should have the option."
The paper says that no clauses in any provincial legislation, regulation or collective agreement should demand that a worker become a member of a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.
Employees who work in industries regulated by federal labour laws would be exempted.
The Ontario Conservatives would also end the monopoly that union shops enjoy in bidding for public contracts across Ontario's municipal and broader public sectors.
In a move that the Tories say would increase transparency, unions would be required to reveal exactly how they spent the dues they collect.
The white paper also proposes changes to how the Ontario Labour Relations Board functions, and recommends that private companies be allowed to compete with the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) to provide workplace insurance coverage.
"It's time for Ontario to re-examine outdated workplace rules that date back to the 1940s and adapt them to the much more flexible requirements of today's employees," Hudak says in the paper. "We must realize that labour flexibility and more opportunities for workers are essential to retaining and attracting the very best talent to our province."
Hudak said he remains open to public input on these ideas, but the paper sets the direction his party believes is necessary for prosperity.
It's expected that the labour movement in Ontario would strongly oppose the proposals.