In Ontario, the Employment Standards Act, which defines all of this (and a lot more) has a ton of exemptions. Here's the exemptions for "Information Technology Professionals":
Notice that we are exempt from "Hours of Work", "Daily Rest Periods" and "Overtime" to name a few. This means that, aside from your employment contract, there are no laws that protect your right to refuse unpaid (or paid) overtime.
I'm not sure if he realizes that refusal to work overtime can, in itself, be a reason to get fired, or if that consequence simply doesn't matter to him. Either way, saying that they shouldn't matter to any one else is incorrect.
Also, the entire health care angle is weird. Both Canada and UK have public health care, but both work a lot of overtime:
As a fellow Canadian, I have only one suggestion: get the fuck out of Canada. The market for programmers is piss poor, the selection of jobs anemic and mostly drudge-work monkeying. There are other geographies that offer much more interesting work, double-to-triple Canadian salaries, and a strong enough employment scene that nobody can hold much over your head, least of all fears of being on the street.
You sound like you're being bullied. Your employer is holding your basic survival over your head to get you to commit to unreasonable demands. I'd highly suggest turning this around.
None of this is about me. I just think the article really comes off quite sheltered..."I can do what I want and who cares if I get fired, so should you!"
I don't see that sentiment in the post.
There are two takeaways for me from the post:
1 - You have more chips to play with than you know, particularly in this industry. We're not fighting over factory line work here, we're people with a highly coveted skill set that is (at least for now) at incredibly high demand world-wide. Abusive employers would like for you to believe that you have no choice but to submit, but in reality people in our line of work have an almost comically absurd number of options right now. If you are programming and dealing with this, you probably don't actually have to, and your fears of getting fired and unable to find other work are likely unfounded.
"You're going to get fired if you don't submit to my unreasonable demands, and you're lucky to have a job at all!" is usually a scam. Triply, quadruply true for our field.
2 - If you do find yourself in a position where your freedom to say "fuck you" to an abusive employer is compromised (no other jobs in the area, collapsing industry, etc), you need to get yourself away from that kill-zone as quickly as humanly possible. If you need to retrain your skillset, do so. This is a problem that will never correct itself, and you can get out. If you have high expenses that limit your savings rate, and thus your unemployment runway, do something about it. Your employment mobility is the negotiation leverage in this line of work, and you should never do anything to compromise this (like, say, take out an unwisely large mortgage).
Even if the employee receives proper benefits from those extra working hours (in Argentina, extra hours should be paid double what a regular hour costs), how is his point invalid? He's arguing that your life is worth much more than that. Near the end, he mentions people in China who have no option to refuse working extra hours, and yet that's wrong. It's wrong because those people SHOULD have an option to say no to being f over each day by their employers. Their lives are worth much more than those iPhones.
Of course, if you need to put food on your family's table and there's no other job on sight.. well, you'll do it no matter what. But it's not what we should strive for.
Average 'fringe' in China, defined as social insurance paid to government, state pension, etc, averages 40% of salary for most employers like factories and BPOs. Total cost of employment per employee in China is more expensive than most of Asia.
Overtime of more than 36 hours per month for each employee is illegal in China, and the court always sides with the employee even on the scrappiest amount of evidence.
China makes up for this with awesome infrastructure reducing logistics costs a lot. Wage costs are only around 15% of total cost of production for a factory like Foxconn.
Some factories do not provide great conditions, but these are mainly small factories with no gloves when handling pollutants, etc. When I mention small factories, I mean a warehouse with wooden tables, anything with plant and scale is monitored closely. Monitored by the public with mobile phone cameras as much as by officials. There is a strong public backlash movement on the Chinese language internet and it is effective.
On glass vs. plastic... China can be incredibly agile especially when dealing with partners that are privately owned properly licensed companies which lack global levels of bureaucracy. Today, in my global multinational, I was requested for 3 directors' 'approvals' for the acquisition of 3 new IP phone sets, while another request which goes through another route which, for 50 desktop units and 100 screens, did not require any 'approval'. Do not discount baggage slowing things down.
So if you're valuable to the company enough that seeking a replacement costs a lot more, then the employer will probably accept that overtime is not an option and if not then you've got options to consider.
Employees should really learn to use capitalism to their advantage.