Ontario Liberals propose four-day work-week pilot project if elected in 2022
Published Sunday, October 17, 2021 3:48PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 17, 2021 3:48PM EDT
The Ontario Liberals say they will launch a pilot project to “analyze the potential for a four-day work-week” if elected in June 2022.
Leader Steven Del Duca announced the proposal Sunday afternoon during a keynote address at his party’s Annual General Meeting, citing research being done in other countries such as New Zealand, Japan and Spain.
“I want us to understand if it has merit here,” Del Duca told the party in the public address. “We’re a party that believes in science, expertise and evidence-based decision-making and so I want us to gather the facts in an open and transparent way.”
“Let me be clear, improving the way we work does not mean that people don’t want to work hard.”
A four-day work week would allow employees to work the same number of hours over four days instead of five, resulting in a longer break period between shifts.
One company in Ontario has already implemented the practice after a testing period, saying it helped prevent burnout and had a minimal impact on productivity.
"The truth is that it was instantly impactful on our business," Jamie Savage, CEO and founder of Toronto-based recruitment company The Leadership Agency, told CTV News Toronto earlier this month.
Employees with The Leadership Agency still receive the same pay and number of vacation days per year.
Savage said that while the policy may not be possible for all industries, she noticed her employees were happier and more productive.
For Del Duca, he noted the pandemic has changed the way most people do their jobs, with many now working from home.
“People want the chance to work hard and work meaningfully, without their job having a brutally negative impact on families, mental health, the environment and quality of life,” he said. “We need people in Ontario, particularly the next generation of workers, to believe they can live happy lives and pursue rewarding careers right here.”
Del Duca added that his government will soon be releasing other election policies that will “reflect the new realities of our workforce.”
According to an Angus Reid poll released in June 2020, just over half of Canadians would support a four-day, 30-hour work week. The poll found that 53 per cent of respondents thought it was a “good idea.”
Trials run by Reykjavík City Council and the Iceland government found the idea an “overwhelming success,” with productivity either remaining the same or improving while “dramatically” improving the wellbeing of workers.
Ontarians head to the polls on June 2, 2022.