Extension of health benefits for precarious workers

The Ford government has announced it is seeking comment on expanding publicly funded benefits, such as health care, dental care, prescription drugs and vision care, to cover the millions of working Ontarians living without benefits. They are specifically geared towards people who work in retail, the gig economy, and hospitality.

They ask employees and employers to complete a public survey. The survey results will help inform the province on the implementation of an expanded benefits plan.

“How you work or where you work shouldn’t determine whether you have access to benefits like health and dental plans,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Immigration , Training and Skills Development. “Our government is providing workers with the protection and confidence they need to provide for their families and build stronger communities for us all.

Most workers in Ontario who have permanent full-time jobs have medical and dental insurance. However, less than a quarter of people working part-time or in precarious jobs enjoy similar benefits, meaning that these workers and their families often have to make difficult choices between their health and other necessities like food and housing.

Independent contractors, gig workers, low-wage workers, newcomers, younger workers, and racialized people are less likely to have workplace benefits.

Public comments are open until December 16 and will help determine the recommendations of the Portable Benefits Advisory Committee, expected in summer 2023.

About Evelyn C. Heim

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