The Canadian Labour Congress joins workers’ advocates celebrating today’s announcement that the Ontario government will raise the provincial minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, and reform the province’s employment standards and labour relations laws to improve fairness for all workers.
“Raising the minimum wage to $15 will support millions of Ontario workers – thirty percent of the province – who are currently earning less than that and struggling to afford basic necessities like rent, transportation, and groceries,” said Canadian Labour Congress President Hassan Yussuff.
Unions also celebrated the announced changes to the Employment Standards Act to make it easier for workers to balance work and family commitments, and make ends meet, including:
- Equal pay for equal work protections for part-time workers;
- Fairer rules for scheduling, including a new regulation that will require employers to pay an employee for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled with less than 48 hours’ notice;
- Access to 10 days of Personal Emergency Leave per year (two paid); and
- Three weeks of paid vacation (up from two) after five years with one employer.
“The Ontario economy is strong and these changes will only make it stronger by supporting workers and their families to make ends meet, decreasing turnover, and increasing productivity,” said Yussuff.
However, Yussuff said there are still areas for improvement. For example, unions had pushed for shifts to be scheduled two weeks in advance, access to paid vacation to start sooner, and better paid time off for workers experiencing domestic violence.
Unions had also hoped the changes would go further to reform the province’s Labour Relations Act. Today’s announcement commits to extending card-check certification to three particularly vulnerable sectors – the temporary help agency industry, the building services sector, and home care and community services – but still leaves other workers open to employer intimidation during a union certification drive.
“There is still work to do, but we’re pleased with the changes announced today and hope this begins a process of further improvements for Ontario workers and their families,” Yussuff said.