Ontario's Minimum Wage is About to Rise

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Perhaps the increase will help pay those dreaded January credit card bills.

Thousands of workers across Ontario will see their hourly wages change to $14 an hour as the new general minimum wage takes effect on Jan. 1.

Minister of Labour and Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn was at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre on Dec. 27 to highlight the minimum wage hike and other provisions.

Our plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs provides a minimum wage people can actually live on and modernizes our labour laws to address today's world. Too many families struggle to get by on part-time or temporary work,” said Flynn.

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.”

The general minimum wage is currently $11.60. It will change to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018, then $15 on Jan. 1, 2019.

Among those affected: An estimated 55 per cent of all retail workers across Ontario.

These changes are good news for employees and their families, as well as for our part-time and seasonal workers,” said Yorkdale general manager Claire Santamaria.

A secure workforce helps Yorkdale and our retailers. It also helps reduce employee turnover, something that costs everyone time and money in finding, interviewing and training new employees.”

But not everyone will be making $15 per hour. Here’s a sample of what you could be earning.

Screenshot: ontario.ca

Increased paid vacation and new personal emergency days will also be coming into effect.

Here’s a list of other changes coming into effect on Jan. 1, 2018 including:

  • Ensuring workers are entitled to at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer, bringing Ontario’s vacation time in line with the national average.
  • Expanding the 10 days per calendar year for personal emergency leave to employees in workplaces with fewer than 50 employees, with at least two paid days per year for employees who have been employed for at least a week.
  • A new domestic or sexual violence leave of up to 10 individual days and up to 15 weeks of job protected leave; the first five days of leave in every calendar year would be paid.
  • Increased family medical leave from 8 to 28 weeks per year.
  • A new child death leave from any cause up to 104 weeks, and increased crime-related disappearance of a child leave from 52 to 104 weeks.
  • Changes to make forming a union and reaching a first collective agreement easier.

The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 responds to the final report of the Changing Workplaces Review. It was the first-ever independent review of both the Employment Standards Act, 2000 and Labour Relations Act, 1995.

The report estimated that more than 30 per cent of Ontario workers were in precarious work in 2014.

In 2016, the median hourly wage was $13.00 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.

Studies show that a higher minimum wage results in less employee turnover, which increases business productivity, according to the province.

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