Ontario Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca says he’s not sure if a four-day workweek will work in Ontario, but with views on the shift in work-life balance amid the pandemic, thinks it is something that should be explored.
During a keynote address at the Liberals’ annual general meeting on Sunday, Del Duca said the party will launch a pilot project to “analyze the potential of a four-day work week” if elected in June 2022.
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“So the work has always evolved. It’s always gotten better, “Del Duca told CHML 900. Good morning hamilton.
“I think we have to take a look at all the options and this is what I propose. I think it deserves to be analyzed for sure. “
Under the proposed pilot, employees could work the same number of hours for four days instead of five, allowing for a longer rest period between shifts.
The pilot would be integrated into both the public and private sectors.
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“I think we have so much talent here in this province, and there are many possible ways this could work,” Del Duca said.
“So we want to take a look at it. I want the evidence, I want the facts. “
Ontario had some success with a recent experiment involving a four-day workweek in rural Zorra, east London, Ontario, with municipal staff participating in an eight-month trial project.
The experiment was inspired by a larger, pioneering four-day-a-workweek test in Guysborough, NS, conducted in 2020 and adopted as policy in April.
Results from the world’s largest study of a four-day work week in Iceland suggested that productivity among 2,500 public sector workers in Icelandic offices, hospitals and police stations remained constant or increased.
The study ran a number of different scenarios that included a model in which a four-day work week was offered to workers who would receive the same amount of income for working fewer hours.
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Muhammad Ali, a public affairs and government relations consultant for Crestview Strategy, says that recent studies and the onset of the pandemic could kick-start the liberal scheme, as many people had to reevaluate their working lives to cope with COVID-19.
“There are people with families who want to spend more time at home,” Ali said.
“They want to spend more time at home and that they lost a lot with their children that they did not do before the pandemic.”
Ali says the trial will most likely start with government agencies or highly regulated provincial sectors before adapting more widely in other sectors.
“There are people who are supposed to work 40 hours and end up working 50 to 60 hours in a week as lawyers, doctors and consultants,” Ali said.
He goes on to say that it is a smart campaign platform as it is sure to get people talking and grasp the understanding of what the pandemic was all about.
“He says we are not looking to get back to normal,” Ali said.
“We need to look at a new normal.”
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Del Duca suggests that the benefit would be to maintain a level of productivity, which he said showed declines in some sectors during COVID-19, resulting in mental health challenges.
“We are not on this planet to be able to live to work,” Del Duca said.
“We are supposed to work in order to live. So, I want better productivity. I want better mental health. I want families to work well together and have that good work-life balance. “
Ontario will go to the polls for the upcoming provincial elections on June 2, 2022.
—With files from Anne Gaviola
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