Tuesday, 26 September, 2017

Ontario to introduce $15 minimum wage

Province to raise minimum wage, update labour laws Tuesday: Wynne Ontario updates labour laws, $15 minimum wage
Kelvin Reese | 01 June, 2017, 01:45

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, as brought forward by Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, includes a range of changes to the Labour Relations Act and Employment Standards Act, and is expected to be reviewed by government committees through the summer in anticipation of being passed as legislation this fall.

Wynne billed the raise as "the largest increase in our province's history".

The minimum wage increase was the centerpiece of a slew of reforms Premier Kathleen Wynne revealed yesterday, including ensuring equal pay for part-time workers and increasing vacation entitlements.

In 1970, Ontario's minimum wage was set at $1.50 per hour.

She said $15 an hour would make all the difference.

"They'll feel more certain and they'll feel less anxious because they'll have a little bit more predictability in their lives, and that has a ripple effect into the lives of their families", she said.

Most notable among them: a rapid increase in the minimum wage: from $11.40 today to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018.

If you're earning minimum wage in Ontario, get ready for a very big raise.

"The only time she cares about anything is when it has to do with her own political fortunes and that's what's so disappointing about this premier", Horwath told reporters at Queen's Park.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce said it is concerned about the impact the wage hike will have on businesses and the economy.

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The Canadian Federation of Independent Business warned "small businesses, who don't share the larger profit margins of big business, will be forced to make hard choices, including cutting hours and jobs".

The director of the CFIB says the raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour within only one-and-a-half years is broadsiding small business owners with a 32 percent increase. But businesses faced with increased wage costs could respond by hiring fewer workers or raising prices. But the nature of work is also changing.

"Change in the workplace isn't just on the horizon, it's here", Wynne said. UFCW Canada is the country's most innovative organization dedicated to building fairness in workplaces and communities.

"We want our businesses to be competitive", she said.

"And that is what we as a government will insist on from companies and other organizations doing business in our province". Now it is only available to employees at companies with more than 50 people, but proposed legislation would ensure all employees in the province get 10 days per year, two of them paid.

"You know, Ontario is behind other provinces in guaranteeing better vacation rights". "My budget right now doesn't even really cover groceries".

Employers will now be required to pay an employee three hours' wages if their shift is cancelled with less than 48 hours notice. Currently, it is only available to employees at companies with more than 50 people, but proposed legislation would ensure all employees in the province get 10 days per year, two of them paid.

Employers would not be allowed to request a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave.

Wynne read from a letter she said was sent to her by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce during Tuesday's question and answer event.

"We will modernize the rules around creating a union".

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