Ontario to introduce $15 minimum wage

The minimum wage will rise to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and increase to $15 the following year

Ontario is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring equal pay for part-time workers and increasing the minimum vacation entitlement as part of a major labour overhaul.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Tuesday in response to a government-commissioned report released last week that included 173 recommendations addressing precarious work.

“Change in the workplace isn’t just on the horizon, it’s here,” Wynne said. “People are working longer, jobs are less secure, benefits are harder to come by and protections are fewer and fewer. In a time of change like this, when the very nature of work is being transformed, we need to make certain that our workers are treated fairly.”

The Changing Workplaces review concluded that new technology, a shrinking manufacturing sector and fewer union jobs, among other factors, have left approximately one-third of Ontario’s 6.6 million workers vulnerable.

RELATED: B.C.’s minimum wage will go up to $11.35 an hour in September

The report didn’t examine the minimum wage, which is currently indexed to inflation and had been set to rise from $11.40 to $11.60 in October, but Wynne said raising it will make a difference in millions of people’s lives.

The minimum wage will rise to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and is set to increase to $15 the following year. About 10 per cent of Ontario workers are currently making minimum wage, but about 30 per cent are making less than $15 an hour – the majority of them women.

“It has always been a challenge to raise a family on a minimum-wage job,” Wynne said. “But in recent years, it has become almost impossible. And the reality is more and more people are having to do it.”

Lower minimum wages for students under 18 and liquor servers will also rise during the same time frame, but those exemptions to the minimum wage will not be eliminated, as the report had recommended.

Wynne also announced that part-time workers will get equal pay for doing work equal to full-time staff, and that the minimum vacation entitlement will be increased. Instead of getting two weeks of vacation, workers will be able to get three weeks of paid vacation a year after five years with a company.

The changes to workplace laws will also establish fairer rules for scheduling, including making employers pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours notice.

Personal emergency leave would also be expanded. Currently it is only available to employees at companies with more than 50 people, but proposed legislation would ensure all employees in the province get 10 days per year, two of them paid.

Jessica Smith Cross and Allison Jones , The Canadian Press

Just Posted

UPDATE: West Kelowna fawn euthanized, not claimed by sanctuary

Gilbert the deer has been euthanized after a suitable home was not found in time

Kootnekoff: It’s my strata, and I’ll smoke if I want to (Part 2)

The final part of a legal battle between two strata residents and second-hand smoke

Iconic rock photographer Bob Gruen to exhibit work in Kelowna

Gruen’s portfolio includes John Lennon, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, among many others.

Kelowna woman to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for homeless youth

Victoria Schermel’s climb will raise funds for youth homelessness initiative, The Upstream Project.

Kelowna car thief’s sentencing delayed

Stanley Nickason pleaded guilty car theft charges in B.C. Supreme Court

July showers wash out half of the Okanagan’s cherry crop

Cherry growers say this is the worst season they’ve seen in decades

How much do you know about the moon?

To mark the 50th anniversary of the first lunar landing, see how well you know space

Body, burning truck found near northern B.C. town

RCMP unsure if the two separate discoveries are related

Survivorship Dragon Boat Team wins in Vernon

Team takes top spot in A division at festival

Couple found dead along northern B.C. highway in double homicide

Woman from the U.S. and man from Australia found dead near Liard Hot Springs

RDOS contributes funds to arts centre workshop

South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre Society wants input into proposed facility

World-famous sopranos to hold concert in Okanagan

Two Canadian sopranos are bringing their world-famous voices to the Okanagan for one night only

Summerland Fall Fair to include zucchini race

Event is in honour of bobsleigh athlete Justin Kripps

BC Wildfire Service warns wet weather no reason to be complacent

Fire risk currently low for much of B.C. compared to same time over last two years.

Most Read