June 9th, 2021

NDP calls for temp agency use to end at factories, warehouses

NIAGARA FALLS — Upper Crust, a North York bakery connected to Fiera Foods, has now been convicted in the deaths of two more temporary agency employees. But NDP Workplace Health and Safety critic Wayne Gates says the system that allows employers to pay a fine and go right on putting temp workers at risk is wrong, and has got to be overhauled.

"Simply put, these fines are not enough,” said Gates. “What we need now is concrete action that puts an end to practices that put workers at risk — including the end to the exploitation of temporary workers.”

Since 1999, five temp agency workers have been killed at workplaces related to Fiera Foods operations.

The NDP believes the law should require temp agency workers get equal pay for equal work, and prevent companies from using temp agency workers day-in-and-day-out instead of offering them jobs. The NDP also wants to stop temp agencies from charging unfair fees to workers, eating into already-small hourly wages.

"We know some companies exploit temporary workers because they don’t want to pay proper benefits, and they want to pay less than they pay full-time workers. Worst of all, there are companies that provide less health and safety protection for these workers, or less training," said Gates.

"Doug Ford knows this is happening in Ontario, just like the Liberals before him knew. It’s time Ontario stood up for working people, not companies like Fiera Foods who are exploiting these workers, and putting them at risk.

"Every one of these workers had a family, had a life — they each had a right to come home safe from work, and each of their workplaces accidents were preventable. One worker’s death is a tragedy, five should be a crime — yet this company gets barely a slap on the wrist. It's time for laws that truly protect workers in Ontario."