Province Consulting with Local Community to Develop New Legislation
Ontario is taking historic action to create more opportunity and security for workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker, and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.
Today, MPPs are hosting a consultation session in Waterloo Region on the province’s proposed Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. In order to help develop this legislation, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is hearing from local residents and businesses in ten communities across Ontario throughout July.
Committed To Working Toward a Fair Workplace For Everyone
“Hard work should not be punished by poverty, but should be rewarded by fair compensation and job security,” said Kitchener Centre MPP Daiene Vernile. “All hard-working people in Kitchener-Waterloo, and across Ontario, deserve a decent wage, and I'm committed to working toward a fair workplace for everyone.”
Over the past three years, Ontario's economy has outperformed all G7 countries in terms of real GDP growth. While exports and business investments are increasing and the unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, the nature of work has changed. Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work. Government has a responsibility to address precarious employment and ensure Ontario workers are protected by updating the province's labour and employment laws.
Through a broad, inclusive consultation process, including engaging residents in Kitchener-Waterloo, the province will ensure proposed reforms give all workers the opportunity to succeed and get ahead.
Protecting workers and supporting business is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
"We are encouraged by the province’s commitment to increasing the minimum wage to $15 by 2019. This moderate increase is a great step toward ensuring that no full time worker in Ontario is living below the poverty line."
— Linda Terry, Executive Director, Social Planning Council of Cambridge and North Dumfries
“These are long overdue changes to Ontario’s labour laws. I am committed to ensuring they unfold in ways that support both workers and employers. That’s why I want to hear from people across Waterloo Region – and across Ontario -- about how to make the new legislation work for everyone.”
— Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge
"While some choose to put the bottom line ahead of people working hard to provide for their family, our government believes in protecting all citizens, creating better opportunities for all workers, and giving families hope and confidence about the future. Government must be a force for good. Our goal must be to build a society where fairness, opportunity and security are available to everyone."
— Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour
* Other highlights of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act include fairer scheduling rules, expanded family leaves, measures to address misclassification of employees, more robust enforcement through the hiring of 175 addition employment standards officers, a modernized Labour Relations Act, and a program for educating employees and small- and medium-sized business owners about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act.
* The Changing Workplaces Review, conducted by Special Advisors C. Michael Mitchell and John C. Murray over the past two years, estimated that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014. This type of employment makes it hard to earn a decent income and interferes with opportunities to enjoy decent working conditions and/or puts workers at risk.
* In 2016, the median hourly wage was $13 for part-time workers and $24.73 for full-time workers. Over the past 30 years, part-time work has grown to represent nearly 20 per cent of total employment.
* Currently, half of the workers in Ontario earning less than $15 per hour are between the ages of 25 and 64, and the majority are women.
* More than a quarter of Ontario workers would receive a pay hike through the proposed increase to the minimum wage.
* Studies show that a higher minimum wage results in less employee turnover, which increases business productivity. It also boosts the economy through the improved purchasing power of thousands of workers.
* Find out how the province’s Fair Hydro Act is making energy more affordable for consumers and small businesses.
* Read about Ontario’s Fair Housing Plan and the steps being taken to help homebuyers.
* See how a balanced Budget 2017 is improving the lives of Ontarians through investments in health care and education, and free prescription medication for everyone 24 and under.