Ontario Moving Forward with Minimum Wage Hike

A significant minimum wage increase has been in the works for some time now, and we may see it happen soon.

The Ontario government recently announced that it’s wrapping up committee hearings and moving forward with the legislation to increase minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 an hour.

The legislation also includes ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, enabling at least three weeks' vacation after five years with the same employer, and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.

As part of the proposed Bill 148, or the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs gathered feedback from 10 communities - Hamilton, Kingston, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Niagara, North Bay, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Windsor-Essex, and Toronto - and around 190 presentations from members of the public, businesses, labour organizations and advocacy groups.

More than 30 per cent of Ontario workers are in precarious work as of 2014, which makes it hard to earn a decent income and have decent working conditions. Further, part-time work has grown to represent almost 20 per cent of employment in the province over the past 30 years. Another concerning fact is that half of all workers in Ontario earning less than $15 per hour are between the ages of 25-64.

That being said, this may be a huge step forward for workers earning minimum wage and with precarious employment - this pay hike would affect more than a quarter of Ontario workers.

In terms of next steps, the feedback will be reviewed and more workers and businesses will be consulted throughout the fall.

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