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Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Standing Up for a $15 Minimum Wage and Fair Workplaces

Calls to Ontario’s Employment Standards Hotline Double Following January Wage Increase

The number of Ontario workers contacting the Minister of Labour's Employment Standards hotline to ask about the minimum wage has doubled since the rate was increased to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018.

Data from the Ministry of Labour shows the total number of calls specifically about the minimum wage more than doubled in January 2018 -- after the new minimum wage took effect -- compared to January of last year.

Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne reiterated the government's commitment to fairness for workers and a $15 minimum wage in 2019 during a visit to a Toronto restaurant.

The increase in calls to the Employment Standards line demonstrates that the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is having its intended effect and that there is a need for government to stand up for workers who are not receiving the fair treatment now mandated by law under Bill 148. That legislation became law in November and brought in improvements for workers including:

  • A plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019
  • Up to 17 weeks leave after a worker or their child has survived domestic or sexual violence, with the first five days being paid days of leave
  • Ten days of personal emergency leave per calendar year for all workers, including two paid days
  • A required three weeks annual paid vacation for all workers who have been with the same employer for five or more years
  • Equal pay for part-time workers who do the same job as full-time workers.

Fair workplaces with fair wages are just one of the many ways the Ontario government is building a fairer, better province where higher wages mean people can better care for themselves and their loved ones. A fair wage builds on the government's work to make tuition free for hundreds of thousands of students, make prescriptions free for everyone under 25 and build 100,000 new child care spaces, the majority of which will include subsidies.

Quick Facts

  • Ontario’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.
  • Inquiries to the Employment Standards hotline about the minimum wage or cancelled shifts more than doubled in January 2018 when compared to January 2017.
  • Over the past 40 years, part-time work has grown to represent nearly 20 per cent of total employment.
  • There are more than one million workers in Ontario earning a minimum wage.
  • Currently, over half of the workers in Ontario earning less than $15 per hour are between the ages of 25 and 64, and the majority (nearly 60%) are women.

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