Kevin Flynn Minister of Labour has said that “These changes will ensure every hard-working Ontarian has the chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity. Fairness and decency must continue to be the defining values of our workplaces.”
Harinder Malhi MPP, Brampton-Springdale said that “Our government is making changes to Ontario’s labour laws to better support people who work in temporary help, part-time, minimum wage and contract jobs. Changes like expanded personal emergency leave and increased vacation entitlements will ensure Ontario workers are treated fairly on the job.”
Ontario is taking historic action to improve the working conditions of temporary help agency workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes ensuring workers at temporary help agencies receive equal pay for equal work, hiking the minimum wage, implementing a more appropriate unionization model for their sector, introducing paid personal emergency leave for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.
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 ensure Ontario workers are protected by updating the province’s labour and employment laws.
To help safeguard employees and create fairer and better workplaces, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 would:
Mandate equal pay for temporary help agency (THA) employees doing the same job as permanent employees of the agencies’ client companies, and equal pay for part-time, casual and seasonal employees doing the same job as full-time employees
Require a THA to provide temporary help workers with at least one week’s notice when an assignment scheduled to last longer than three months will be terminated early, or to provide a week of work or lieu pay if sufficient notice is not given
Raise Ontario’s general minimum wage to $14 per hour on January 1,
2018, and then to $15 on January 1, 2019, followed by annual increases at the rate of inflation
Establish card-based union certification for the temporary help agency industry
Expand personal emergency leave to include an across-the-board minimum of at least 10 days, including two paid days, per year for all workers
Bring Ontario’s vacation time into line with the national average by ensuring at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer
Make employee scheduling fairer, including requiring employees to be paid for three hours of work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours of its scheduled start time.
The government is also proposing measures to expand family leaves and make certain that employees are not misclassified as independent contractors, ensuring they get the benefits they deserve. To enforce these changes, the province will hire up to 175 more employment standards officers and launch a program to educate both employees and small and medium-sized businesses about their rights and obligations under the Employment Standards Act.