Ontario delivery riders fight for employment rights

App delivery riders in Ontario, Canada are pressing the province’s government to reclassify their employment status to the same as full time employees. They are currently classed as self-employed and can take as little as CAD$3 an hour.

With major cities like Windsor and Toronto in the province, there are tens of thousands of delivery riders who are fighting for better employment conditions.

The Ontario government, led by Premier Doug Ford, is expected to legislate on the matter by the end of the month. Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton is promising legislation by the end of the month as part of “broader efforts to protect and support vulnerable workers, such as those who have kept essential goods moving and the economy going through the pandemic.”  

“There is nothing right now stopping Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and these other app-based employment companies from offering us full employee rights. They are just choosing not to,” rider representative Brice Sopher told CBC News. “They have all the advantages with none of the responsibilities.” 

Under current legislation they are not entitled to a minimum wage, holiday or sick pacy and nor do the delivery companies have to pay Employment Insurance Premiums or Canada Pension Plan contributions.

“There is no reason why we don’t deserve full employment rights,” said Sopher. “Anything less than that is a lowering of the bar for all workers.”  

Ontario’s Labour Minister McNaughton is not about to offer full employment rights. However, he said, “There’s going to be more to come on this in the days ahead.

“It’s wrong, quite frankly, when we see app-based workers making $3 an hour or anything less than a minimum wage. They deserve more, and we’re going to deliver for them.”

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