Ontario could end labour law limbo for factual TV workers - LISE LAREAU | Canadian Media Guild The signals are good. Early reports indicate that the Ontario government’s Changing Workplaces Review will not be a waste of time and is poised to make change for thousands of precarious workers, including those who work in factual/reality TV and video production. The CBC is reporting that the review is now in the hands of the Wynne cabinet. Among the changes it will recommend are: Paid sick days for all employees; Ending some of the exemptions (loopholes) under Ontario’s Employment Standards Act (no word yet if this will include the exemption given the entire film and television industry); Changing the classification of “independent contractors” to ensure that they get some protection by labour laws. The independent contractor classification has kept many workers in our industry, and others, unjustly excluded from legal protections, including paid overtime, holidays, robust safety rules and the right to unionize. It’s the no-obligation, no-rules approach to employment. Last month, we saw just how alluring it is for producers to use the independent-contractor loophole against their own people. Blue Ant Media (producers of Cottage Life TV and several nature and wildlife programs) suddenly announced on April 27 that it was [...]
Members get rare chance to oppose bill that threatens pensions - The retirement security of a majority of CWA Canada members — past and present — is threatened by proposed amendments to federal pension legislation. However, they have a rare opportunity to get the government’s ear on the matter. Bill C-27, which aims to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, would immediately affect pensions at Crown corporations such as the CBC and at federally regulated private-sector companies. It would touch upon virtually all members of this union’s largest Local, the Canadian Media Guild (CMG), as well as on working or retired members who have a defined benefit (DB) pension plan, which could be altered retroactively. The CMG rallied its members who engaged their MPs, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Finance Minister Bill Morneau, and turned out for a Day of Action on Parliament Hill in early February. “We were effective,” reported Jonathan Spence, president of the Guild’s CBC Branch. Morneau recognized the CMG’s efforts and “has asked us to consult on the bill by sending a written submission outlining our concerns and possible solutions.” With the submission due on May 15, Spence has asked members to send him their concerns or suggestions for possible inclusion in the brief. (These can be emailed [...]
Legislation & Regulations - A compendium of articles about bills, laws and regulations that have an impact on workers, organized labour, unions and journalism.
Coalition urges press shield laws, inquiry into spying on journalists - A press freedom coalition of a dozen organizations, including CWA Canada, is calling on the federal government to take urgent action to protect journalists and their sources. In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, the coalition expressed its concern that press freedom is being steadily eroded in Canada. “Canada recently dropped ten places in Reporter Without Borders (RSF) World Press Freedom Index, thanks to what the organization called a ‘dark age for journalism’ under our previous federal government. Despite the Prime Minister’s strong rhetoric in support of journalism, under your government there have been multiple press freedom violations in Canada. Based on current trends, and without decisive action, the ‘dark age’ looks set to continue. “We see this in the spying on Patrick Lagacé and his colleagues by police, the potential jail sentence faced by VICE News reporter Ben Makuch, the possible trespassing charges facing Justin Brake for his coverage of protests at Muskrat Falls, and the seizure of the Journal de Montreal’s Michael Nguyen’s laptop, among other cases. Are there other serious violations of press freedom in Canada, more journalists being spied on? Because of the lack of [...]
CWA Canada urges withdrawal of pensions Bill C-27 - The Hon. Bill Morneau, P.C., M.P. Minister of Finance House of Commons Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6 Dear Minister: I am writing on behalf of CWA Canada, the country’s only all-media union, to urge you to abandon Bill C-27, an Act to amend the Pension Benefits Standards Act, 1985, which would be a blow to future and current retirees and Defined Benefit (DB) pension plans in the federal private sector and Crown corporations. C-27 was introduced without notice or consultation with Canadians, pensioners or unions, and proposes measures that directly contradict election promises to improve retirement security for Canadians. If enacted, it would have negative implications for private and public-sector DB plans in every jurisdiction in Canada. A principal value and strength of DB pension plans is the security and predictability they provide to plan members, allowing them to budget for their daily lives in retirement. DB pensions operate under a legal covenant obliging employers to fund employees’ earned benefits, guaranteeing retirement security regardless of market volatility. Already-earned (or “accrued”) benefits are legally protected, and may not be retroactively reduced. Bill C-27 would remove that legal obligation and encourage the proliferation of Target Benefit (TB) pension plans instead, potentially lowering benefits [...]