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Like Japan and Spain, Ontario Liberals Propose Four-Day Workweek

If elected in June 2022, the Ontario Liberals say they will initiate a pilot study to “analyze the possibility for a four-day workweek”.

“I want us to understand if it has merit here,” Del Duca told the Ontario Liberal 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.” He further said, “let me be clear, improving the way we work does not mean that people don’t want to work hard”.

Leader Steven Del Duca made the announcement during a keynote address at his party’s Annual General Meeting on October 17, citing research from New Zealand, Japan, and Spain. Employees would be able to work the same amount of hours across four days rather than five, resulting in a longer break period between shifts. After a trial period, one company in Ontario has already incorporated the practice, claiming that it helped avoid burnout and had a minor influence on production.

“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 at The Leadership Agency continue to be paid the same and get the same amount of vacation days each year. While the policy may not be feasible in all businesses, Savage noted that her employees were happier and more productive as a result of it.

Duca pointed out that the pandemic has transformed the way most people work, with many individuals 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,” Duca 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.”

Duca also stated that his administration will soon release other election policies that “address the current reality of our workforce.”

A study conducted by Angus Reid in June 2020 found that slightly over half of Canadians support a four-day, 30-hour workweek. According to the study, 53% of respondents believed it was an “excellent idea.” The notion was determined to be an “overwhelming success” in trials conducted by Reykjavik City Council and the Iceland government, with productivity maintaining constant or improving while workers’ well-being was “dramatically” improved.

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