Ontario to increase minimum wage to $15/hour

Premier Kathleen Wynne hopes to strike a balance in proposed workplace reforms to ensure they are acceptable to both employees and employers. The measures are not expected to be introduced in the legislature until the fall

Province to raise minimum wage, update labour laws Tuesday: Wynne

"Our hope is that the changes announced today will be part of a broader and ongoing effort by the government to bring Ontario's labour laws into the 21 century by providing more fairness for workers", says Meinema.

Ontario's top government official introduced a plan Tuesday to increase the minimum wage and rework labor laws in the province to help support vulnerable workers. It is also addressing other challenges that can come with part-time gigs: workers who now deal with last-minute scheduling changes will have a number of new rights, including mandatory pay for at least three hours of work if a shift is cancelled with less than 48 hours' notice. Ontario will work closely with businesses of all sizes to support them as these changes come into effect, so they can continue to succeed and keep the economy strong.

Making employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.

The minimum wage is now set at $11.40 per hour.

As part of a new Workplace Rights Act, the Liberals are also expected to expand minimum annual vacation from two weeks to three, increase the fines for employers who cheat workers out of their wages, and set up a confidential tip line to report bad bosses.

"That in itself is not a bad thing", said Wynne.

In 2016, the median hourly wage was $13 for part-time workers and $24.73 for full-time workers.

But when rumours the government was considering a change first came forward earlier this month, the chamber joined other business groups denouncing the move.

Personal emergency leave will be expanded to include an across-the-board minimum of at least two paid days per year for all workers.

"Today's announcement highlights the importance of unions remaining actively engaged in the political process, as numerous reforms announced today are changes that UFCW has always been advocating for", says Shawn Haggerty, President of the UFCW Canada Ontario Provincial Council.

Niehus says he doesn't buy the Chamber argument that prices will go up for consumers and that the wage hike will become meaningless, saying the price hike is a myth.

Speaking to reporters at the National Assembly, Couillard contended that, even without a wage hike, Quebec's "redistributive policies" make the province more advantageous than Ontario for families earning less than $130,000.

The current minimum wage in Canada's most populous province is $11.40 an hour, but will rise to $14/hr on Jan 1, 2018, and then $15/hr one year later.

"I can remember when minimum wage was $8 or $9 an hour", says Sean McKenny, the President of the Ottawa and District Labor Council, "and we heard the same argument from the same businesses, that if minimum wage went up 20 cents an hour, they'd have to close the doors".

"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 1½ years", said Julie Kwiecinski, a director with CFIB. They're also ones that make it easier for women, who still undertake far more child and family care, to work, as they allow for more flexible participation in workplaces.

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