Trevor Noah: Justin Trudeau wrong to say ‘wealthy oil and gas companies’ take advantage of Canada

In what is becoming a regular occurrence for Parliament Hill, something new blew up in the prime minister’s hair. This time it was comments made about Manitoba by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday….

Trevor Noah: Justin Trudeau wrong to say ‘wealthy oil and gas companies’ take advantage of Canada

In what is becoming a regular occurrence for Parliament Hill, something new blew up in the prime minister’s hair. This time it was comments made about Manitoba by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday.

He was in Winnipeg to meet with indigenous leaders and expressed his frustration with energy companies halting work in the province. He suggested that Manitoba is being taken advantage of by the oil and gas industry.

This hearkens back to the original Well Rested Act that politicians love to advertise to the citizenry, which has an amendment which makes it possible for workers to withdraw from their jobs under certain circumstances, as long as it is paid by the employer in full.

The Companies Act, by which Manitoba falls, is very similar. The Companies Act has an amendment that allows employees to withdraw from “entitlement” to some benefits of employment, such as sick leave. But workers can only withdraw from entitlement to a period of up to one year. This is the section that “blocks work” for an indefinite period of time.

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The prime minister claims he speaks as much for the 13,000 unemployed in Manitoba as he does for the tens of thousands of Canadians who lost jobs in the oilpatch in the last two years. But jobs are jobs and to get jobs, companies must be creating jobs in order to employ Canadians. We must also be optimistic that future work will produce more jobs.

If there was ever a “right to disconnect,” this would be it.

This is not just an empty threat. In cases where a “business” cannot afford it, however, it is perfectly legal to disconnect from the office even under these circumstances. In 2016, Nova Scotia introduced the law which allows employees to disconnect from work up to 60 days every three years. Last year, Manitoba introduced the equivalent of a “work-life balance” benefit for employees of companies with 50 or more employees that allows employees to disconnect 60 hours per week during normal working hours.

WATCH: Canada’s ‘Work-Life Balance’ Mandate

Employees get credit for time off which would ordinarily be added to their salary through a vacation paydown scheme. Even if they do not choose this option, however, employers who employ over 50 people are required to allow their employees to disconnect from work as much as they wish.

In these cases, disconnection from work is valuable, productive and benefits both the employee and employer.

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To talk about disconnecting from work is to praise Canadians for their ingenuity, resourcefulness and will to get the job done. Let’s not be a country that demotes our Canadian ingenuity by asking workers to disconnect.

If there was ever a “right to disconnect,” this would be it.

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