Ford Government Considers Giving Benefits to Gig Workers, Including Ridesharing Drivers

The Ford government is considering giving benefits to gig workers like Uber drivers, CityNews has learned.

The government released 21 recommendations from the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee, including that the province creates and recognize a “dependent contractor category for gig or platform workers in the app-based space and give those workers basic employment rights” — things that could include health and dental benefits.

Currently, gig workers like ridesharing and food delivery drivers are classified as “self-employed” or “independent contractors,” which does not allow them employment protections such as vacation pay, minimum wage overtime, or health benefits.

The report also recommends the government “appoint an expert to design and test a portable benefits program, where contributors could be employers, workers and the government.”

While these are only recommendations at this point and new legislation would be required, the government said it is considering all of the report’s recommendations and plans to take further action, including steps to protect and support digital platform workers — though it’s not yet clear what the specific actions will be.

“My message to companies like Uber, Lyft, SkipTheDishes, and anyone else in the gig economy is these companies need to step up and take care of their workers and if they don’t, will force them to,” Labour Minister Monte McNaughton told CityNews.

“The future of work is already here. If we want to be leaders, we need to quickly adapt,” McNaughton added. “Taking these steps now re-balances the scales and puts Ontario workers and their families first for generations to come.”

The Ford government has already been busy passing a number of other pro-worker provisions, including the “Working for Workers” bill, which recently passed into law. It requires Ontario workplaces to have a right to disconnect policy. It also prevents businesses from using non-compete agreements and makes it easier for internationally-trained individuals to practice in their professions.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt

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