Ontario Moving to $15 Minimum Wage

By: Laura Steiner

Ontario will become the second Canadian province to move to Minimum Wage.  Premier Kathleen Wynne announced today it would move from the current $11.40/hr to a flat $15/hr in 2019.

The wage increase will go to $14/hr January 1, 2018, and then $15 January 1, 2019.  “Too many families are struggling to get by on contract work, and unstable employment.  And no one working full time in Ontario should live in poverty,” Wynne said.

The wage increase is part of a bigger package of  reforms.  These include

  • Equal pay for full, and part-time workers,
  • Three weeks paid vacation for workers with employers longer than 5 years, and
  • Granting 10 personal emergency days/ year.

The province is also looking at making the unionization process easier for temporary foreign workers, and those in building services as well as community care workers.

The changes are facing stiff opposition from the business community.  The Ontario Chamber of Commerce sent a letter earlier this month asking Wynne to consider its impact on small business.  “We are urging Premier Wynne to complete an economic analysis of the proposed reforms to limit potential consequences that could seriously jeopardize our future growth,” Interim President and CEO Richard Koroscil said.

Wynne addressed those concerns saying her government will be sure to see business is supported while these changes are made.  In a recent CBC interview, she insisted the economy is doing well enough to handle a significant wage boost.

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