By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - A bill aiming to even up labour mobility between Ontario and Quebec workers failed to pass its second reading in the Ontario legislature.
© Adam Brazeau
Bill 80 gets shut down in Ontario legislature: Pictured (from left) MPP Jack MacLaren, Greater Ottawa Truckers' Association (GOTA) general manager Ron Barr, South Glengarry Mayor Ian McLeod and MPP Jim McDonell stand with local contractors and GOTA members at a demonstration at the Ontario-Quebec border.
Bill 80, Fairness is a Two-Way Street Act, was in favour of restricting Quebec-based workers and contractors from working in Ontario unless they registered with the Director of Jobs Protection Office.
MPP Jim McDonell was a huge supporter of the bill, and marched with fellow politicians, as well as union representatives, local contractors and truck drivers at the border of the neighbouring provinces last month. McDonell is slamming the Liberal and NDP party for not supporting Bill 80.
McDonell said the bill, proposed by Carleton-Mississippi Mills MPP Jack MacLaren, was intended to pressure Quebec to open their borders to Ontario and the rest of Canada.
MacLaren previously told Seaway News that Ontario construction companies face mountains of red tape, permits, fees and harassment from enforcers that effectively make it impossible for them to work in the neighbouring province. This gives Quebec workers a cutting edge.
"If you review their current slate of bills before the legislature, you will notice a lack of attention towards the current sluggish Ontario economy. The current situation where the Quebec border is essentially closed to Ontario workers and negatively affects our economy and it's not fair,” said McDonell. “The Liberal government is not willing to acknowledge that Quebec is not living up to the 2006 agreement.”
McDonell said the Liberal and NDP parties don’t acknowledge the problem and have not presented any of their own solutions.
“There are many times more Quebec workers in Ontario than the reverse,” said McDonell. “It appears that closing the border to them is the only thing that will make this Quebec government take action, as it did in 1999.”
The S,D&G MPP believes that it will take the anger of the Quebec worker, who is blocked from working in Ontario, against their own provincial government to force them to live up to their open-border agreement.
“I have talked to many contractors and trades-people that have been fined and/or restricted from working across the border,” said McDonell. “It involves our building supply businesses, paving, aggregate and concrete businesses, as well as our skilled labour and contractors in the construction industry.”