The definition of Abuse is a corrupt practice or custom; improper or excessive use or treatment. The mistreatment of a person who is in a vulnerable position with the end result being the weakening and undermining of the other party.
We need to lobby our government to protect people against employers who abuse our workforce and offer precarious employment to our citizens. Corporations having the privilege to conduct business within the Canadian market also need take up the responsibility of offering ethical employment.
“What does employer abuse look like?” you might ask:
Abuse happens when an employer is demanding more than reasonable speed of efficiency to handle a matter. Work tasks should allow for an employee to work with dignity and deal with variables of case-by-case matters within a reasonable time. Think nurses, call centre staff, nursing home staff, etc.
Systematic Abuse is when institutions engage in practices that take away a person's independence or dignity (also includes economic abuse). When workplaces systematically under-staff to save a buck, they are treating workers as a disposable commodity on a tread mill for profit – that is abuse.
Neglect is another a form of abuse. Corporations abuse and dehumanize their workforces when they refuse to give loyal and reliable workers a raise to keep up with the cost of living for continuing to do a good job. We have a broken system when a company can make record profits and withhold raises to the bulk of its workforce. To withhold fair compensation in rapidly-rising inflation economies from reliable and reasonably performing workers is neglect.
Companies are required by law to conduct business in good faith, but our policy makers are standing by permissively while corporate Canada systematically erodes our social fabric. Corporations violate our communities and our families when they create high stress work environments requiring aggressive performance targets for low compensation. This type of workplace culture affects a family's ability to partake in adequate leisure/recreation activities, their ability to provide opportunities for their children, and their ability save adequately for retirement and maintain a reasonable standard of living without resorting to enormous debt burdens. Our employment policies are outdated and they are not protecting the taxpaying citizen. Furthermore, the decline of our workplace standards affects our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. A record number of Canadians have reported experiencing anxiety and depression. Many Canadians are stressed and have lost hope in their financial futures. I believe that much of this depression is circumstantial, and those circumstances would be radically altered by a living wage.
Abuse is happening when one party's actions or words tears down another, or attacks or weakens or wears on a person's standing as a human being – to gratify quarterly earnings -- that is single-minded greed, and it is abuse.
An abuse-free system needs to be enforced; we need our MPs to lead in this respect to create a Canadian corporate environment that humanizes the workplace. Leaving the matter to self-regulating corporations isn't working - it only leads to empty saving-face initiatives and politically-correct-looking facades to appear socially conscientious.We need change. Change that removes the oppressive weights from families and creates parameters for business to conduct themselves on a playing field that doesn't level or marginalize the employees.
True north strong and free - free to work and sustain ourselves and adequately meet the needs of our families. To live, to work, to play, and to save for our own futures -- free from social programs. There should be no such thing as the working poor in this nation. This is what we want as our national identity: dignity for the common man.