Good news for Ontario’s bottom-earners: minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.
The decision comes as part of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which was passed by a vote of 67-26 at Queen’s Park yesterday evening.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne tweeted the news shortly after it became official:
We did it. Today, we passed a law to officially raise the minimum wage to $14 an hour on Jan 1, 2018 and $15 by Jan 1, 2019. This is why I’m in politics — because I know we can build a fairer, better Ontario for everyone. The fight for $15 isn’t over, but today was a big step. pic.twitter.com/uRkRfRUceF
— Kathleen Wynne (@Kathleen_Wynne) November 22, 2017
The next minimum wage increase will happen on January 1, 2018, when it rises to $14.00 per hour. That represents an increase of 20.6 per cent compared to the current $11.60/hour minimum wage.
“While the province’s economy is strong and growing, the nature of work has changed, leaving many workers struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work,” reads an official release for the new legislation. “Workers in Ontario have the right to strong protections at work. Fairness and decency must continue to be the defining values of our workplaces.”
Increasing the minimum wage was far from the only major news to come out of the vote. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act essentially overhauls the majority of Ontario’s labour laws, including that:
- – Casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees being paid equally to full-time employees when performing substantially the same job for the same employer.
- – Significant improvements to scheduling requirements
- – Employees holding more than one position with an employer and who are working overtime being paid at the rate for the position they are working at during the overtime period.
- – Employees being entitled to three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer
Leave for parents, pregnancy loss, critical illness, family medical, death of a child, and crime-related disappearance were also amended.
You can see a full breakdown of the new measures here.
Whether or not these sweeping changes are enacted remains to be seen – a 2018 election could see the Conservatives assume power given Wynne’s unpopularity. While Tories have expressed support for a $15 minimum wage, they have suggested such a drastic move should be delayed.