(TORONTO, ON) – 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. Data from the ministry shows the total number of calls specifically about the minimum wage more than doubled compared to January of last year.
Ontario’s minimum wage is scheduled to increase to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.
This week, 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.
“No one in Ontario who works full time should worry about where their next meal is coming from,” said Wynne. “The Ontario I know is a province where together, we care for each other, and that includes ensuring everyone earns a fair wage. Raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour is the right thing to do. Workers simply cannot wait for this increase, no matter what some of the opponents to fair wages may tell you.”
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.
There are more than one million workers in Ontario earning a minimum wage, and over the past 40 years, part-time work has grown to represent nearly 20 per cent of total employment. 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.
“Our plan for fair workplaces and better jobs provides a minimum wage people can actually live on and modernizes our labour laws to adapt to an ever-changing economy,” said Ontario’s Minister of Labour, Kevin Flynn. “Too many families struggle to get by on part-time or temporary work. Those working full-time can be living in poverty. This is unacceptable in Ontario. Our plan will help ensure everyone who works hard has the chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity.”
Improvements For Workers
- 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