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Increase to Ontario minimum wage


Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on May 30, the province's plan to raise minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2019

Claudia Bergman | Interrobang | News | June 7th, 2017

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, announced on May 30 of plans to implement measures in plans to create a fairer work environment for those employed within the province.

As part of the proposed legislation titled the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs act, these changes are focused towards providing more security to part-time and contract workers.

According to the government of Ontario's website, these measures will include:

-Increasing minimum wage to $11.60 per hour in October 2017, $14 per hour in January 2018, $15 per hour in January 2019 with increases to follow at the rate of inflation.

- Mandating equal pay for part-time, temporary, casual and seasonal employees who are doing the same work as full-time employees.

- Matching pay for employees working in agencies doing the same work as permanent employees of the agency's client companies

- Ensuring 10 days of personal emergency leave and a minimum of two paid days for personal emergency leave is available for all employees

- Paying employees three hours of work if a shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time

- Paying “on-call” employees three hours of regular wages if they are not called in to work per every 24-hour period that the employee is “on-call”

In a press release for the government of Ontario, Wynne commented “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.”

The rapid plans of change to the Ontario Employment and Labour Laws have been met with both praise and controversy.

Brian Pistor, a second-year general arts and science student is eager and ready for the new changes.

“I think they should do it though, because don't a lot of people complain about minimum wage? So, let's try it and see how it goes,” Pistor said.

For many Ontario residents, this change primarily being the wage increase is set to be a relief and aid in the struggle against higher living costs.

For Tayler Fogal, a first-year general arts and science student, the new changes will help her as she continues her work-school balance while attending Fanshawe.

“I like it in terms of pay wise, you work for less hours, but make the same amount as what you're currently making now. On the aspect of going to school, I would like it, [for] me, [with] full-time school, I cannot work full-time, so having three days a week where my pay is actually $15 an hour, yeah I would like that,” Fogal said.

Statistics acquired from the government of Ontario showed that roughly half of the 25 to 64 part-time working population currently make less than the proposed $15, while the wage increase will also see that roughly a quarter of workers will see a pay raise.  

Meanwhile, for many employers, specifically small business owners, these scheduled changes will bring upon many challenges while offering very little time to adapt and adjust business models accordingly.

In a statement released by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Julie Kwiecinski CFIB director of provincial affairs for Ontario commented has some words to share about the changes to minimum wage.

 “We are shocked and appalled that the government is broadsiding small business owners with a 32 per cent increase in the minimum wage within only one-and-a-half years,” Kwiecinski said. “Small businesses, who don't share the larger profit margins of big business, will be forced to make difficult choices, including cutting hours and jobs.”

Regardless, the outcome of these measures should be an interesting factor come time for the Ontario general elections scheduled for June 7, 2018.
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