Today the province announced minimum wage increases for full and part time employees over the next two years.
The province is raising the general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1, 2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation.
Today’s announcement is in response to the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review, conducted by Special Advisors C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray, over the course of two years. The report estimates that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014.
Officials also announced they will be mandating equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees; and equal pay for temporary help agency employees doing the same job as permanent employees at the agencies’ client companies as well as expanding personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers.
“The economy has changed. Work has changed. It’s time our laws and protections for workers changed too. Too many families are struggling to get by on part-time or contract work and unstable employment. And no one working full time in Ontario should live in poverty. With these changes, every worker in Ontario will be treated fairly, paid a living wage and have the opportunities they deserve.” Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario told the press on Tuesday.
Over the past three years, Ontario’s economy has outperformed all G7 countries in terms of real GDP growth according to the province. “While exports and business investments are increasing and the unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, the nature of work has changed. Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work.” a press release from the province states.
The new plan also included bringing Ontario’s vacation time into line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with a company
and requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.
Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour says “These changes will ensure every hard-working Ontarian has the chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity. Fairness and decency must be the defining values of our workplaces.”
The government says it will also propose measures to expand family leaves and make certain that employees are not misclassified as independent contractors, ensuring they get the benefits they deserve. To enforce these changes, the province will hire up to 175 more employment standards officers and launch a program to educate both employees and small and medium-sized businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act.
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