Ontario to introduce $15 minimum wage

The minimum wage will rise to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and increase to $15 the following year

Ontario is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring equal pay for part-time workers and increasing the minimum vacation entitlement as part of a major labour overhaul.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Tuesday in response to a government-commissioned report released last week that included 173 recommendations addressing precarious work.

“Change in the workplace isn’t just on the horizon, it’s here,” Wynne said. “People are working longer, jobs are less secure, benefits are harder to come by and protections are fewer and fewer. In a time of change like this, when the very nature of work is being transformed, we need to make certain that our workers are treated fairly.”

The Changing Workplaces review concluded that new technology, a shrinking manufacturing sector and fewer union jobs, among other factors, have left approximately one-third of Ontario’s 6.6 million workers vulnerable.

RELATED: B.C.’s minimum wage will go up to $11.35 an hour in September

The report didn’t examine the minimum wage, which is currently indexed to inflation and had been set to rise from $11.40 to $11.60 in October, but Wynne said raising it will make a difference in millions of people’s lives.

The minimum wage will rise to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and is set to increase to $15 the following year. About 10 per cent of Ontario workers are currently making minimum wage, but about 30 per cent are making less than $15 an hour – the majority of them women.

“It has always been a challenge to raise a family on a minimum-wage job,” Wynne said. “But in recent years, it has become almost impossible. And the reality is more and more people are having to do it.”

Lower minimum wages for students under 18 and liquor servers will also rise during the same time frame, but those exemptions to the minimum wage will not be eliminated, as the report had recommended.

Wynne also announced that part-time workers will get equal pay for doing work equal to full-time staff, and that the minimum vacation entitlement will be increased. Instead of getting two weeks of vacation, workers will be able to get three weeks of paid vacation a year after five years with a company.

The changes to workplace laws will also establish fairer rules for scheduling, including making employers pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours notice.

Personal emergency leave would also be expanded. 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.

Jessica Smith Cross and Allison Jones , The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Castlegar, Grand Forks areas to see cleaner winter roads under new contract

YRB set to take over 10-year maintenance contract on Monday

Montrose moves to ban pot retail

Retail, production and distribution of non-medical cannabis sales prohibited under Montrose bylaw

Setting sail to fight kidney disease

Trail’s annual Kidney Walk included an opportunity to raft down the Columbia River

MP Cannings spared brunt of Ottawa tornadoes

MP Richard Cannings was spared the impact of the tornadoes that hit the Ottawa region

Castlegar walk raises thousands for local Alzheimer’s support

Castle Wood Village fundraiser shows astounding support in community, organizers say

AFN national chief suggests moving Trans Mountain pipeline route

Perry Bellegarde said many Indigenous communities believe in the need to diversify export markets

‘Hello, 911? There’s a horse in my living room’

Sproat Lake firefighters called to ‘rescue’ quarter-horse from Alberni Valley house

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto play agrees to peace bond

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

B.C. making progress on senior care staffing, Adrian Dix says

Minister aims to meet residential care provincial standard by 2021

B.C. realtor receives racist letter touching on ‘empty homes’

The letter has been met with condemnation of the racism after Winnie Wu posted it online

60+ surrendered cats in Okanagan get people working together

Community comes together to help surrendered cats at Penticton SPCA

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on customer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Andrew Weaver congratulates New Brunswick on electing first Green caucus

Election win means there are now three provincial Green Party caucuses in Canada

Most Read