It’s my pleasure to rise today on behalf of my constituents of Windsor West, in particular all those working in the skilled trades.
The so-called Building Ontario Up for Everyone Act disrespects those working to actually build Ontario and jeopardizes their health and safety. Bill 70 undermines routine workplace inspections, the process that ensures workers are properly trained and working in a safe environment. It devalues the skilled trades.
At a time when we are encouraging our young women and men to become certified tradespeople, when we are touting the quality of life and satisfaction that the trades will bring our next generation of workers, this Liberal government is hollowing out health and safety legislation and paving the way for privatization. It’s not surprising given that this Liberal government views routine safety checks as a “burden”—their word, not mine.
In an email, the ministry staff stated, “This program would … reduce the burden of unnecessary processes such as routine inspections.” While this government views routine inspections as a burden, those actually working in the trades view them as essential, a proactive process that prevents injuries, prevents occupational illness and saves lives.
I couldn’t agree more. That’s why New Democrats called for schedules 16 and 17 to be removed from this bill. That’s why New Democrats stood in solidarity with thousands of skilled trade workers outside Queen’s Park this morning and why I’m bringing their concerns before the Legislature this afternoon.
New Democrats don’t just stand with workers when the cameras are flashing—like the Conservatives, who don’t support the College of Trades; we fight for the right to a safe and secure workplace every day inside this chamber, and will continue to do so.