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Important Labour Consultation with Ontario Government


September 14, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ CFA Member Profiles & Press Releases


Attention Franchisors: Participate in a Government Consultation That May Critically Impact Your Franchise System
Urgent Deadline of September 18, 2015

The Ontario Government is seeking input and feedback from businesses regarding what changes, if any, should be made to  the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA) and the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (LRA) to better protect workers. The deadline for input and feedback to government is September 18, 2015.

With the submission deadline fast approaching, the opportunity to proactively provide your feedback on employment and labour issues in your franchise system is now. While the government’s aim is to support business in the Ontario economy, it is difficult to predict the potential impact of ESA and LRA reform on the franchised service sector in Ontario. Providing your specific input and feedback to government is critical to helping protect the interests of you and your franchisees. (See below for details on how to make a written submission.)

CFA will be making a written submission that explains the unique nature of the franchisor-franchisee relationship and calls on government to consider options that help protect the franchise business model and allow it to continue to be an economic engine for the Canadian economy. CFA’s written submission will be posted in the CFA Members Only Area as soon as it is completed and we will advise you through an Advocacy Alert when it is available.

HOW ESA AND LRA REFORM IMPACTS YOUR FRANCHISE SYSTEM
The ESA regulates minimum standards that employers and employees in Ontario must follow, such as minimum wage and whether employers must pay for the employee uniforms. The LRA regulates matters including the certification of unions, the collective bargaining process, strikes and lock-outs.

Labour issues are a core concern to franchisors and franchisees, the dangers of which can be seen in the United States with the recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decision on joint-employer status, wherein franchisors can now be held liable for labor violations committed by franchisees and contractors as well as be required to bargain directly with unions and employees of their franchisees and/or contractors.

In Canada, we need to ensure that there is fairness and equality in legislation. In Canada, legislation rarely gets updated and most laws in Canada were not originally made with a clear and complete understanding of the franchise business model or the independent nature of the franchisor-franchisee relationship. It is critical that we now take this opportunity with ESA and LRA reform to ensure government is educated about franchising and aware of any impacts legislation may have on franchising and the contribution it makes to the country.

HOW TO MAKE A WRITTEN SUBMISSION ON ESA AND LRA REFORM
All CFA franchise system members are encouraged to submit their feedback and input to the Ontario Ministry of Labour by the deadline of September 18, 2015 by email toCWR.SpecialAdvisors@ontario.ca, by fax at 416-326-7650, or by mail at Changing Workplaces Review, ELCPB, 400 University Ave., 12th Floor, Toronto, ON M7A 1T7.

We urge you to read the Guide to Consultations publication (available here and in CFA’s Advocacy Headquarters). The Guide to Consultations poses several questions in an attempt to solicit feedback from stakeholders and the public. CFA encourages you to specifically consider the following questions from the Guide that have the most relevance with regard to the franchised service sector in Ontario:

  1. As workplaces change, new types of employment relationships emerge, and if the long term decline in union representation continues, are new models of worker representation, including potentially other forms of union representation, needed beyond what is currently provided in the LRA?
  2. In the context of changing workplaces, are changes required to the manner in which workers choose union representation under the LRA? Are changes needed in the way that bargaining units are defined, both at the time of certification and afterwards? Are broader bargaining structures required either generally or for certain industries? Are changes needed in regard to protecting bargaining rights?
  3. Are changes required to the LRA with regard to the ground rules for collective bargaining? Are new tools needed in the LRA with respect to industrial disputes or to deal with protracted labour disputes?
  4. Are there specific employment relationships (e.g., those arising from franchising, subcontracting, or agencies) that may require special attention in the ESA?
MEMBER ACTION REQUIRED:

Please respond to the Ontario government’s request for feedback by sending your comments, ideas, and suggestions to the Ontario Ministry of Labour by email toCWR.SpecialAdvisors@ontario.ca, by fax at 416-326-7650, or by mail at Changing Workplaces Review, ELCPB, 400 University Ave., 12th Floor, Toronto, ON M7A 1T7.

NOTE: To ensure CFA has a full understanding of your viewpoints when we advocate to government on your behalf, we ask that you also provide a copy of your response to CFA, attention Erica Kelsey, Director of Government Relations at ekelsey@cfa.ca.

Canadian Franchise Association

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