New impaired driving laws spark outrage among Kingstonians – Kingston


Kingston police and other Canadian police forces are now able to demand breath samples from people without having a reasonable suspicion that they are, and or have, driven impaired within a two-hour window.

The revised impaired driving laws allow officers to access bars, restaurants, and homes if they suspect an individual was driving with a blood alcohol level at or above 80 milligrams, and if caught, a person can face criminal charges, fines, and a suspended licence.

Returning bottles to the Beer Store? Beware of possible breath test by police

“If we [Kingston Police] walk into that bar and that person is showing severe signs of impairment at that point the investigation turns to the root and we can proceed with the investigation,” said Const. Fil Wisniak with the Kingston police.

WATCH: Police in Canada can now demand breath samples in bars, at home

As previously reported by Global News, the impaired driving changes to the Criminal Code of Canada were made to provide officers with more power to seek breath samples from drivers who might be driving impaired.

According to many defence lawyers and civil liberty experts, though, these changes are unconstitutional.

“Random police powers to stop, question, and take bodily samples from people can lead to serious human rights violation,” said Abby Deshman, director of the Criminal Justice Program at Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

The changes, though, could be beneficial for some, said Judah Dos Santos, owner and founder of SanTur Brewing. According to him, having more enforcement will help clean up the image of bars, pubs, and breweries.

“As a bar owner we are responsible for our customers, and if the police are able to help ensure the safety of all who dine at my place, I’m all for it,” Dos Santos said.

When many Kingstonians were asked whether they are comfortable with police having access to private businesses without any grounds for suspicion, however, they all agreed that it may lead to misuse of power.

Civil rights advocates question Canada’s new impaired driving law — but feds say don’t worry

When someone is charged with impaired driving under these new rules, Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it will be challenged by the defence lawyer and will go through appeal courts and to the Supreme Court of Canada, taking years to process.

Kingston police say each driver is innocent until proven guilty — even if there are several reports of impaired driving against them.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Canada’s new impaired driving laws are now in effect — here’s what to know – National


Canada’s new impaired driving laws kick in Tuesday, giving law enforcement new powers when it comes to interacting with drivers.

READ MORE: How many drinks is too many under new impaired driving rules?

Alcohol-related impaired driving laws will be updated in the Criminal Code of Canada as of Dec. 18, in order to become in line with drug-impaired driving laws that were recently reformed earlier this year.

Changes to both drug and alcohol impaired driving come as part of the former Bill C-46, which aims to make Canada’s laws “amongst the strongest in the world.”

WATCH: Mandatory impaired driving laws to hit the roads before the holidays

Here are some key changes:

Mandatory alcohol screening

The new laws will give police officers the authority to demand breathalyzer tests from any driver they pull over. Previously, officers could only test drivers if they had a reasonable suspicion the person was impaired. Any driver who refuses to take the test can be charged.

These stronger laws are similar to ones in several other countries around the world, such as Australia, Denmark, France and Germany. In Ireland, mandatory screening reduced the number of road deaths by about 40 per cent in the first four years it was enforced.

No more ‘bolus drinking defence’

Before Dec. 18, drivers could use the “bolus drinking defence,” arguing that they consumed alcohol just before driving and it was not absorbed yet.

The new law eliminates this defence, by making it illegal to be at or over the alcohol limit within two hours of being behind the wheel.

READ MORE: Heavy share of Canadian pot users admits to driving within 2 hours of toking up, study says

Updated penalties 

The new law also bumps up the maximum penalties for many alcohol-impaired driving offences.

Formerly, the mandatory minimum fines were: $1,000 for first offence, 30 days imprisonment for second offence, and 120 days in jail for a third offence.

These are the penalties now:

  • First offence, with blood alcohol content of 80-119 mg: mandatory minimum $1,000 fine
  • First offence, with blood alcohol content of 120-159 mg: mandatory minimum $1,500 fine
  • First offence, with blood alcohol content of 160 mg or more: mandatory minimum $2,500 fine
  • First offence, but refuse to be tested: mandatory minimum $2,000 fine
  • Second offence: mandatory minimum 30 days imprisonment
  • Third or more offence: mandatory minimum 120 days imprisonment
  • Maximum penalties for impaired driving causing no bodily harm or death: summary conviction carries two years less a day imprisonment, indictment carries 10 years imprisonment
  • Maximum penalties for impaired driving causing bodily harm: Summary conviction for less severe injuries carries two years less a day imprisonment, indictment carries 14 years imprisonment
  • Maximum penalty impaired driving causing death: life imprisonment

WATCH: York Regional Police begins naming drivers charged with impaired driving

Criticism of new laws

While the new laws have been welcomed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada, several groups have raised concerns.

Toronto-based lawyer Michael Engel, who often defends those charged with impaired driving, said the new rules are a big change that raise concerns about baseless searches.

“This is a radical departure from previous law, which insulated people against warrantless searches without probable cause,” he said.

Civil rights organizations have also sounded alarms about the new rules, with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association expressing concern that mandatory alcohol screening will unfairly affect racial minorities who are disproportionately singled out by cops for traffic stops.

WATCH: Drunk driver uses tragedy to save lives

Impaired driving, by the numbers

Last year, there were more than 69,000 police-reported impaired-driving incidents — about 3,500 were related to drugs.

In 2016, there were more than 70,00 such incidents, and 3,000 were drug-related.

According to federal statistics, an average of almost four people die in Canada daily due to impaired driving.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Laundering laws, not racism, may have barred Drake from gambling in Vancouver


VANCOUVER—British Columbia’s new anti-money-laundering laws, not racial profiling, may have been what prevented Drake from gambling in Vancouver last weekend, according to several sources — including an online post purporting to be from an employee at the casino.

The Toronto rapper, full name Aubrey Drake Graham, just turned 32 on Oct. 24 and has a penchant for visiting casinos around the date, according to previous social-media posts.

On Instagram, Drake wrote: “Parq Casino is the worst run business I have ever witnessed … Profiling me and not allowing me to gamble when I had everything they originally asked me for.”

Drake’s account was disputed by a Reddit user who claimed he is a Parq casino employee, though StarMetro could not independently verify the truth of that claim. The user didn’t respond to an email requesting more information. CTV News, however, said it verified the events described with another unnamed source.

The user, “O-A-N,” alleged that Drake ran afoul of rules requiring he produce proof he withdrew funds of more than $10,000 the same day and declare its source.

“Basically, you need a bank receipt for the same day you buy in,” the Reddit post said. “He was refused service because of (the British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s) policy that requires source of funds from any player trying to buy in for more than $10,000 in cash.

Read more:

Drake accuses Vancouver casino of racial profiling

“Parq tried to do everything they could to allow him to gamble … including calling up BCLC. Drake and his entourage were well informed of this policy when they were refused service. If Parq allowed Drake to break this law, they could lose their gambling licence.”

According to an update from the same Reddit user, Drake did end up gambling both that night and the next day.

“He was there for at least six hours that I know of,” the user wrote. “Drake did in fact gamble for a while. Not only did he have his own ($10,000) buy-in, he had a friend at one point wire him money to Parq, which they accepted, and he gambled some more.

“When he lost that, he tried to buy in again with cash and he was refused again. Seems like after losing everything, he left and threw and made that post.”

A spokesperson for Parq Vancouver told StarMetro she “can’t comment on specific customers” for privacy reasons but said that “Parq Vancouver is responsible for following all of the regulations set out by B.C. (Lotteries Corp). We follow these guidelines for every customer.”

The casino said in a Saturday post on its Instagram account it is “constantly improving our communications process to ensure that these new regulations are better understood by all guests … We are operating in one of the most complex, highly regulated industries and are always looking to better our communication and customer service.

“We categorically stand against racism of any kind.”

In a statement on its website, B.C. Lotteries Corporation says it requires reporting of any cash buy-in of $10,000 or more, including the customer’s identification and a bank receipt.

“All cash and bank draft/certified cheque buy-ins for $10,000 or more, in one or more transactions within a 24-hour period, will require a source of funds receipt,” the Crown corporation said. “The original receipt must be from the same day of the transaction and show the financial institution, branch number and account number.

“This information will be required before a customer is allowed to buy in.”

After Attorney General David Eby took office last year, he described being shown video footage of hundreds of thousands of dollars — in elastic-bound $20s — being dumped from duffel bags at casino teller wickets. He responded by ordering a report by former RCMP regional commissioner Peter German.

German’s bombshell report was titled Dirty Money. Compared to other jurisdictions, B.C. had allowed money laundering and organized criminal activity to flourish over a decade in its casinos, the report said, and the previous government had shuttered an anti-money-laundering enforcement unit despite insiders’ warnings about the problem.

As a result, Eby tabled and passed a revamp of B.C.’s casino legislation, including measures to force gaming businesses to flag all transactions over $10,000 to authorities and require them to prove where they got the cash on the same day.

And according to Eby on Monday, the new laws have worked, causing a “remarkable and sharp decline in suspicious transactions,” adding there’s been a “reduction of about 100 times from the peak of suspicious cash transactions.”

For that reason, Eby said, there can be no exceptions regarding disclosure.

B.C.’s rules are by no means unique. Had Drake or any celebrity walked into, say, a Las Vegas casino owned by Parq’s operator, Paragon Gaming, he would have discovered a tight net of laws and regulations also govern cash transactions there.

German visited Las Vegas, the hub of gaming on the continent, and met with enforcement officials and regulators there. His recommendations were largely inspired by Nevada’s model, including encouraging alternatives to cash and requiring identification and detailed record-keeping on large transactions.

“I hypothesized that a box of cash arrived with rubber bands at a cash cage,” German wrote about his meetings with Las Vegas’ deputy chief of the enforcement division and a casino investigator. “What would occur? The officers doubted that this would occur in Las Vegas.”

According to the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (the equivalent of Canada’s FinTRAC), “a casino is required to file a (Currency Transaction Report by Casinos) on currency transactions by or on behalf of any customer that, alone or when aggregated, exceed $10,000 in a gaming day.”

The same law applies to poker players buying in with “more than $10,000 in chips with currency, in a single transaction or a series of related transactions in the same gaming day.”

Violations in the U.S. could cost a casino $25,000 every day of the violation occurring, up to $100,000 per violation.

Drizzy has said nothing beyond his call-out on Instagram. But in his song “Diplomatic Immunity,” released on Jan. 19, he sings about a previous incident at a casino in Detroit:

“I refuse to comply with regulations … Motor City Casino, I’m at the cage with my old licence. They tell me, ‘Don’t worry, I got your money.’”

With files from The Canadian Press

David P. Ball is a Vancouver-based reporter covering democracy and politics. Follow him on Twitter: @davidpball


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Liberal government tables bill to toughen laws on bestiality, animal cruelty


Federal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould tabled legislation today that would strengthen laws around animal cruelty and bestiality.

At a news conference Thursday, the minister said the bill aims to protect vulnerable children and animals from « terrible » acts, while not interfering with legitimate breeding, veterinarian, agricultural or hunting practices.

Bill C-84 responds, in part, to a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled a convicted sexual offender, identified only as D.L.W. to protect his victims, was not guilty of bestiality following charges stemming from sexual activity involving one of his stepdaughters and the family dog.

In a 6-1 decision, a majority of the justices ruled that the Criminal Code provisions around bestiality did not adequately define which sexual acts with animals are prohibited. In his ruling, Justice Thomas Cromwell urged Parliament to revisit the definition.

Bill C-84 changes the wording in the Criminal Code to clarify that it involves any contact for a sexual purpose between a person and an animal.

Wilson-Raybould said the government had « fairly extensive » consultations with a variety of stakeholders to respond to the court ruling.

« It took some time, » she said.

A Justice Department summary of the proposed changes says the amendments will protect animals from violence and cruelty and will increase protections for children and other vulnerable individuals who may be « compelled by another person to commit or witness sexual acts with animals. »

The legislation also expands protections for animals, including activities related to animal fighting.

The bill would prohibit:

  • Promoting, arranging, assisting, taking part in or receiving money for the fighting or baiting of animals.
  • Breeding, training or transporting an animal to fight another animal.
  • Building or maintaining any arena for animal fighting. Current prohibitions are limited to building or maintaining a cockpit, which is a place used for cockfighting.

« Bill C-84 represents a common ground approach to ensuring the protection of children and animals from cruelty and abuse, » reads the Justice Department document.

New law too narrow

Wilson-Raybould could not say how prevalent the practice of animal fighting is.

« It does exist, and where it does exist we want to have laws in place to prevent it, » she said.

Camille Labchuk, a lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice, said the new law took too long to bring in, and it is too narrow in scope.

« Disappointingly, the new legislation only contains very minor measures related to bestiality and animal fighting. These provisions are welcome, but they should have been introduced as part of a larger package of desperately needed animal cruelty reforms, » she said in a release. 

« Animal Justice will seek amendments to Bill C-84, as it does not currently give judges the ability to ban bestiality offenders from owning animals in the future — something that is standard for other animal cruelty offences under the Criminal Code. »

In December 2017, Conservative MP Michelle Rempel tabled a private member’s bill to amend the Criminal Code to define bestiality as « any contact by a person, for a sexual purpose, with an animal. » 

The existing definition of bestiality in the Criminal Code is understood to focus on penetration as the essential element involving a person and animal.

Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith proposed legislation to ban the import of shark fins and the sale of cat and dog fur in Canada. It also attempted to amend Criminal Code provisions related to animal abuse, negligence, fighting and bestiality, but it was defeated in the House of Commons.

In the Criminal Code, offences against animals have not changed substantially since 1892, except for some increased penalties.


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Lawyers catch a whiff of trouble for K9 drug units adapting to new pot laws


As legalization looms, K9 units across the country are facing a problem: their dogs are outdated.

Drug-sniffing dogs undergo training from a very young age to be able to detect a wide variety of drugs, including cannabis, which will be legal in Canada on Oct. 17.

And while some have been forced into early retirement, many will remain in their jobs, raising questions for legal experts concerned that law-abiding citizens might be stopped and searched by police based on an alert for a perfectly legal substance.

Some organizations said they’ll be totally unaffected by legalization. Since crossing the border with cannabis will remain illegal without a permit, the Canadian Border Services Agency said all their drug-sniffing dogs will remain in the same role.

“Through its programs and services, the CBSA will continue to uphold laws governing the illegal cross-border movement of cannabis, while facilitating the free flow of legitimate people and goods,” spokesperson Jayden Robertson said in a statement.

Even in forces that are adapting to legalization, change will come slowly.

In January, the Winnipeg Police Service’s (WPS) K9 unit added Ivy, a 20-month-old Belgian Malinois, to its roster. Ivy got all the regular training except cannabis odour detection. But all 14 WPS canines, all of whom except Ivy are trained to detect cannabis, will continue working until the end of their careers, the WPS said — instead, change will be grandfathered in as new dogs won’t undergo cannabis training.

Since the Calgary Police Service (CPS) said “nearly all” of their searches initiated by drug-sniffing dogs involve a previously obtained warrant, they’ll be keeping theirs too. Drug-sniffing dogs are also used at traffic stops, the CPS said, albeit rarely.

Sometime this fall, the CPS Canine Unit will employ dogs both with and without cannabis training.

“This will allow flexibility in a variety of investigative needs,” the CPS said.

The RCMP said it has prepared for legalization by training a new crop of drug-sniffing dogs over the summer who only detect illegal drugs, to be used for traffic stops and interdiction work.

The current crop of 14 dogs in those roles, spread out across British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Newfoundland and Labrador, will all enjoy early retirements.

But those dogs only make up 12 per cent of the RCMP’s total canine force. The vast majority of “general duty” dogs will remain in place with their current training.

“There will still be offences related to cannabis, such as the unlawful sale or distribution of cannabis, including its sale or distribution to young persons, and the unlawful possession, production, importation and exportation of cannabis,” the RCMP said in a statement.

This is where the law could get fuzzy, experts say.

Toronto cannabis lawyer Paul Lewin said it was “ridiculous” that police forces plan to keep their cannabis-trained dogs.

“It’s absolutely pointless. It’d be like a tomato-detecting dog,” he said. “[The dogs] aren’t going to tell us if it’s illicit cannabis. The dogs aren’t trained that well. The dog won’t know how much cannabis is there. I’m baffled.”

When cannabis was illegal, police had reasonable grounds to search a person if a dog smelled cannabis on them. Now, Lewin said, though cannabis-related offences will still exist, the waters are muddied.

Since dogs don’t distinguish their alerts based on specific drugs, police won’t know whether a dog is alerting them to the presence of fentanyl or a joint.

Toronto cannabis lawyer Harrison Jordan said he expects to see court challenges where dogs alert their handler for the presence of a drug that turns out to be legal cannabis, and the cop finds a different illegal item, like a handgun — will that charge hold up in court, since the initial search was for a legal substance?

“It really depends on the reasonable grounds that they have,” Jordan said.

For instance, most provinces will allow police to search a vehicle if they believe the driver is carrying cannabis in an open container — similar to open container laws with alcohol — but police generally can’t just search every car at a RIDE stop checking for impaired driving, Jordan said.

In any case, Lewin said he expects to see many cases where “false positives” are tested in court.

“The Charter frowns on searches for no good reason,” he said. “There’s really some serious rights at stake here.”

To make sure you stay on the right side of the law as much as possible, make sure your cannabis stays fair away from airports and border crossings, Jordan said.

“Don’t try to take your stuff out of the country, or into the country, because that’s where you’re most likely to encounter a sniffer dog,” he said.

-With files from The Canadian Press

Jack Hauen is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @jackhauen


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Advocates push for changes to sexual consent, prostitution laws as top court hears Gladue case


Canada’s top court begins hearings tomorrow in a case that is sparking case-specific demands for justice, as well as widespread reforms to amend sexual consent laws and curb sexual violence against Indigenous women.

There will be 15 interveners appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada for hearings Thursday that will determine whether Bradley Barton will face a new trial in the death of Edmonton Métis woman Cindy Gladue.

The 36-year old sex worker was found dead in a hotel room bathtub in 2011. She had bled to death from a 11-cm wound to her vaginal wall.

Barton said it was an accident, and that Gladue had consented to rough sex.

Today, advocates from the Women’s Equality and Liberty Coalition gathered on Parliament Hill calling for urgent action to stop vulnerable women from being forced into prostitution, calling it a « harmful, exploitive and violent act. »

Hilla Kerner, a spokesperson for the group, said Gladue’s death must lead to fundamental changes around consent. 

« When there is such explicit power imbalance, when someone is desperate, vulnerable and is in need of the money and would never have agreed to this position if it were not for the coersive money, then consent should not be valid, » she said. « It undermines the principle of consent. »

Kerner said women engaged in prostitution disproportionately become victims of sexual and physical violence.

« When men buy women, in their minds they buy the rights to these women’s bodies, buy the right to harm these women, and from the murdered and missing inquiry, we know that they do get away with that. »

Gladue mother of 3

The national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is one of 15 interveners in the case.

In a factum filed with the court, the inquiry noted Gladue was the mother of three daughters who had struggles in life with addictions and poverty.

« But we recall her strength and dignity now, because the trial in relation to her death failed to do so, » it reads. 

Kerner said immediate steps must be taken to improve economic security, detox and recovery programs and exit supports for those leaving prostitution.

Trisha Baptie, who is with a group of former sex trade workers who want a prohibition on any paid access to women’s bodies, said there is a difference between consent and compliance.

« As a group of women with histories in the sex trade, we know what needs to be put on trial here is men’s entitled behaviour to women’s bodies. Only an entitled male would offer to purchase the highly intoxicated Ms. Gladue for sex in the first place. »

According to court records, Gladue had four times the legal limit of alcohol for driving at the time of her death.

The Barton case is to be heard by the Supreme Court on Thursday 1:19

Diane Matte said the coalition wants to claim justice for Gladue, and to end the systemic violence against Indigenous women.

« The atrocities that Cindy Gladue had to endure at the hands of the accused in this case is matched, unfortunately, by the atrocities the justice system of Canada has done to women, and has done specifically to her, » she said.

Barton was acquitted by a jury, after the Crown argued that he deliberately inflicted the fatal injury and should be found guilty of first-degree murder. The Crown said alternatively, the jury could find Barton guilty of manslaughter because Gladue did not consent to the conduct that caused the injury.

The Court of Appeal of Alberta found legal errors, set aside the acquittal and ordered a new trial.

The case has sparked public outrage. Gladue was repeatedly referred to as « native » and described as a prostitute during the trial. Many decried the fact her vaginal tissue was admitted as evidence as a human indignity.

In a factum prepared for the Supreme Court, Barton’s lawyer said the appeals court showed a « distaste for the jury decision » and made several legal errors.

It said Barton had believed Gladue was bleeding from menstruation, ordered her to leave, then discovered her dead body in the morning. 


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With new labour laws on the chopping block, what’s at stake for Ontario’s workers?


There was a time in Ontario when workers could be fired for being sick, could be terminated for not taking a last-minute shift and routinely lost thousands of dollars to wage theft.

The year was 2017.

It’s a set of circumstances that north Etobicoke resident Abdullahi Barre calls “unacceptable.”

“Our community elected Doug Ford,” he said. “But we did not support freezing the minimum wage and repealing Bill 148.”

Premier Ford calls the recent labour reforms a “job killer” and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called on the Progressive Conservative government to eliminate them — warning of a “$23-billion cost challenge” to businesses.

The bill was enacted by the previous Liberal government after a two-year labour law review concluded Ontario had “too many people in too many workplaces who do not receive their basic rights.”

Research conducted for the review found a province where 1.6 million workers did not have a single unpaid, job-protected sick day. Where workers lost $47 million to wage theft over six years, of which just $19 million was ever recovered by the government. Where workers had almost no protection against erratic scheduling. And where employers were prosecuted in less than 0.2 per cent of cases where they were found guilty of monetary violations.

“What Bill 148 did was start to make our basic rights a little bit stronger,” said Deena Ladd, of the Toronto-based Workers’ Action Centre.

At a mosque on Rexdale Blvd. backing onto an industrial zone buzzing with transport trucks, not all Ford supporters agree with plans to scrap it.

Imam Abdirahman Hassan said he voted for Ford, whose man-of-action reputation needs little burnishing in this neighbourhood.

“The appeal was when he said ‘I’m standing for the people,’ ” said Hassan. “With the difficult situation that the community is facing, I said to myself, maybe he is the right guy.”

But Hassan believes the ills he sees amongst his congregants have a root cause.

“People, they work at (temporary help) agencies. It’s not a stable job. For that reason a lot of people end up separating and divorcing,” he said. “Kids up end up on the street and find their own ways. A lot of the crisis in the Somali community, it is because of that problem, of not finding a proper job.”

Turfing the new legislation will “make it easier to invest, start, and grow a business in the province as well as build an economy that connects workers to jobs,” Chamber of Commerce president Rocco Rossi said in August.

As a prominent leader in Etobicoke’s Somali community, Hassan sees a different price tag.

“(People feel) there is no future in this country. That’s what I believe is the cost.”

In addition to increasing the minimum wage to $14 in 2018 and $15 in 2019, Bill 148 provided two paid, job-protected sick days and 10 emergency leave days for all workers. Previously, employers with fewer than 50 employees did not have to provide any unpaid emergency days.

“Before Bill 148 came into effect, it was a real challenge to do things like attend a medical appointment,” said Danyaal Raza, a family doctor at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“The two paid sick days have actually helped but are frankly not enough for people who have significant medical concerns and are struggling to make ends meet.”

“When Doug Ford says this is bad for business, when you look at the research, that’s simply not the case,” he added.

The bill also mandated equal pay for temporary, casual, and part-time workers doing the same job as permanent employees.

Hassan said he’d rather the markups charged by temp agencies on workers’ hourly wages go to workers themselves.

“If the business groups are paying the agencies more than $15 (an hour), why don’t they give to the hardworking people who are supporting their families to make ends meet?” he said.

Santha Sivanantham, a mother of three, lives in Markham — another Conservative stronghold. She has worked at the same company for two years through a temp agency; while her permanent colleagues have received salary increases, she has never received a raise except through minimum wage increases.

Because she juggles two temp agency jobs, she says new scheduling protections in Bill 148 that give employees the right to refuse a last-minute shift without retaliation are crucial. She says the wage bump from $11.60 to $14 has also allowed her to pay her electricity bills and buy snacks for her kids.

“As temp agency workers, that’s the only time we see a raise,” she said. “If there’s no increase in the minimum wage, the temp agency is not going to increase.”

The legislation also promised to double the number of Ministry of Labour inspectors in an effort to inspect one in 10 Ontario workplaces. Between 2011 and 2014, the ministry found violations in around 75 per cent of all proactive inspections.

“I think the previous government did a good analyzing of the current situation,” said Hassan. “The best thing the Ford government can do is to continue.”

Ladd says even with Bill 148, there is still more work to be done.

As it stands, two million workers are still excluded from at least one basic protection — from overtime pay to minimum wage — because of gaps and exemptions in existing legislation.

For example, those working in road maintenance are not entitled to severance pay, rest periods or termination notice.

Home-care workers are not entitled to eating periods or overtime.

Residential building superintendents are not entitled to minimum wage.

“Only 24 per cent of workers are fully covered by the Employment Standards Act,” she said. “Those are not numbers that are made up. That is from the Ministry of Labour’s own records.”

“When a worker goes to work they should have a full expectation that they will get paid and they can return home to their family at the end of the day and not be injured,” she added.

Barre, who has four children at home, says he is worried about their future.

“It is very difficult to find a job. Especially when you are Black, when you are Muslim, and when you live in some neighbourhoods that are dangerous. They are discriminated against to get good jobs.”

Bill 148, according to Hassan, started to change that.

“Since the minimum wage changed to $14, a lot of people are relieved. They start contributing to the community and for those in need. And if it’s changed to $15 it will make it even better,” he said.

“You say, ‘I am going to stand for the people,’ ” he said of Ford. “And here we are. This is what we are expecting from you.”

Sara Mojtehedzadeh is a Toronto-based reporter covering work and wealth. Follow her on Twitter: @saramojtehedz


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