Labour Council sends letter to Ontario Premier re: Family Day

Release Date: 
January 21, 2008

OTTAWA – The Ottawa and District Labour Council has today sent a letter to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty asking that the Premier ensure clarity amongst all employers and workers in the province of Ontario in respect to the application of Family Day.

Since the new Ontario statutory holiday was first announced by the Premier in October of 2007 Family Day (the third Monday in February) has generated some debate as to who is entitled to the day off and who isn’t.

“It’s certainly mind-boggling to us why Premier McGuinty hasn’t stepped up to the plate and confidently stated that he fully expects all employers in Ontario to give their employees the day off on Family Day,” said Sean McKenny, president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council.

Some employers have stated that depending on contracts or collective agreements Family Day may not be given as a day off to their employees. This has raised the ire of some labour lawyers including Sean McGee of Nelligan, O’Brien, Payne. “We would have expected employers to see the value the government sees in having workers build strong families,” said Mr. McGee. “Instead, they are turning Family Day into Litigation Day. “Clearly the government intended all employees in Ontario to specifically be given Family Day as a day off”, he added.

The Labour Council has asked the Premier to ‘…advocate, lobby and convey to all employers the importance of Family Day and the government’s expectation that the day be given as a day off to all employees in Ontario.’ In addition they have asked that those efforts be transposed to Canada’s government. ‘You are more than aware of the significant number of families in Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario covered under the Canada Labour Code,’ the letter states. McKenny also cautions the premier that unless the day is given as a day off to all employees in Ontario the effect will be more negative on families in the province than what existed prior to the holiday’s initial announcement.

The Ottawa and District Labour Council (ODLC) has been the voice of working people in the Ottawa area since 1872. The ODLC currently represents 90 local unions with a combined membership of close to 45,000 working men and women and is the largest democratic and popular organization in the Ottawa area.

Contacts:
Sean McKenny 613-862-5150
Ottawa & District Labour Council 613-233-7820