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Outdated employment and labour laws have created a class of undefined workers with undefined rights; how legislators respond will have severe consequences for businesses reliant on flexible labour.

Ontario is now in the midst of overhauling its employment and labour legislation. Last summer, as part of its Changing Workplaces Review, the province's Ministry of Labour released an interim report on how it could modernize the workplace. The market for products and services are increasingly globalized, and more is getting outsourced, it notes. Tariff reductions, free-trade deals and cuts to transportation and communication costs have encouraged this trend.

"Canadian companies are now subject to intense international competition," the report says, "especially from imports from low-wage developing countries."

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Lexpert contributor Sandra Rubin reports at

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