Rolling back labour reforms — including cancelling paid sick days and freezing the $14-an-hour minimum wage — is taking its toll on Premier Doug Ford’s popularity, a new poll suggests.
The Campaign Research survey found Ford’s Progressive Conservatives, who won the June 7 election with 40.5 per cent of the vote, have dropped to 34 per cent.
That compared to 32 per cent for the Liberals under interim leader John Fraser, 25 per cent for Andrea Horwath’s New Democrats, and 7 per cent for Mike Schreiner’s Green.
Last spring, the Liberals, then led by former premier Kathleen Wynne, garnered 19.6 per cent of the vote while the NDP received 33.6 per cent and the Greens had 4.6 per cent.
“It could be a little bit that the honeymoon is over,” Campaign Research CEO Eli Yufest said Tuesday
“The electorate … wanted to send the Liberals a message and they’ve done so,” he added, noting Wynne’s low personal standing “sunk” popular Liberal initiatives like improved workplace protections and a higher minimum wage.
“Ford needs to do a better job telling workers why getting rid of those measures is a good thing for business and a good thing for workers. He hasn’t done that.”
Indeed, 77 per cent of Ontarians oppose the premier’s decision to scrap two paid sick leave days while 17 per cent favoured that and 6 per cent were unsure.
About half of those polled — 52 per cent — were opposed to Ford stopping a planned increase of the minimum wage to $15 on Jan. 1.
Instead it will remain frozen at $14 until October 2020, when it will be tied to the inflation rate and likely rise by about 25 cents an hour per year.
The freeze was backed by 42 per cent of respondents and 6 per cent were unsure.
Using an online panel of 1,830 Ontario voters, the Campaign Research poll was conducted between last Tuesday and Friday. A probability sample of that size would have a margin of error of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In terms of personal popularity, Ford has a 37 per cent approval rating with 63 per cent disapproval.
Horwath was at 60 per cent approval and 40 per cent disapproval while Fraser was at 50 per cent approval and 50 per cent disapproval. The firm did not test Schreiner’s personal rating.
Campaign Research also found that 56 per cent oppose Ford ending the guarantee to workers of three hours pay if a scheduled shift is changed within 48 hours while 34 per cent support his decision and 11 per cent weren’t sure.
Similarly, 59 per cent are against the Tories’ scrapping of Employer Standards Act provisions that guarantee part-time workers the same pay for doing the same job as full-time employees while 33 per cent support the change and 9 per cent weren’t sure.
And 55 per cent oppose allowing employers to ask for a doctor’s note from workers taking sick days with 39 per cent supportive and 6 per cent unsure.
Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter covering Ontario politics. Follow him on Twitter: @robertbenzie