The Ontario provincial election is scheduled for October 6, 2011.  While labour and employment law issues are unlikely to be the hot button election issue that “gravy” was in Toronto’s most recent municipal election, the major parties have all included labour and employment law issues in their party platforms.  We often consider how promises made during election campaigns will affect us at home, perhaps we should also consider how these proposed labour and employment law reforms will affect us at work.

If the Progressive Conservative Party forms the next government, they promise to pass legislation requiring unions to be transparent and open about financial information with their members.  They also promise to require interest arbitrators who set public sector wage rates during arbitration to provide reasons for their decisions and to take into account the ability of the government to pay and “local circumstances”.

The Liberal Party promises to create an additional eight week, unpaid, job-protected leave of absence called Family Caregiver Leave for individuals who are caring for family members.  The Liberals also promise to lobby the federal government to extend Employment Insurance benefit coverage to employees who make the decision to stay home and provide care to family members.

The New Democratic Party proposes to create a defined benefit pension plan called the Ontario Retirement Plan for employees who do not currently have a pension and would like one.  The New Democratic Party also promises to increase enforcement of the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and to increase the minimum wage to $11 in 2011 and to link future increases to the cost of living in Ontario.