Ontario to raise minimum wage and update labour laws, premier says

Province to raise minimum wage, update labour laws Tuesday: Wynne

Ontario updates labour laws, $15 minimum wage

Local reaction is generally positive to the Liberal government's promise of sweeping changes to labour laws that would benefit millions of workers, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring equal pay for part-time employees and increasing vacation entitlements.

Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement at a campaign-style media event Tuesday, surrounded by supporters in construction and health-care unions, and activists who had called for the minimum wage increase.

Hogan said he's particularly happy with the proposed changes to regulations regarding precarious work and equal pay for part-time and temporary workers.

Wynne would not confirm if her government is planning to raise the minimum wage - which is now $11.40 an hour and adjusted for inflation - to $15, as labour groups have been calling for.

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"At the start of the Changing Workplaces Review process, the labour movement came to a consensus on changes that are essential for workers in this province", said Buckley. "Work has changed. It's time our laws and protections for workers changed too", said Wynne in a statement.

"For instance, your employer will now be required to pay you three hours' wages if they cancel your shift with less than 48 hours' notice". The OFL will be engaging with the legislative committee and MPPs over the summer to ensure that the details of the proposed legislation will yield the desired outcome: delivering stability and fairness for all workers in Ontario. We are calling on the government to fully implement the priorities set out on behalf of Ontario workers by the labour movement.

Extending Personal Emergency Leave to all workers and ensuring that it is not combined with any other leave.

Despite that, Ontario's private sector is still doing its part to support workers, the business coalition said.

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-After five years with the same employer, the minimum vacation entitlement for workers would rise to three weeks per year.

"We heard that enforcement is key to making this work - so we're stepping that up", said Wynne. "Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work".

Serving wage, now set at $9.90 per hour, will rise to $13.05 per hour by 2019. (Welcome to Politics 101: A promise is only worth banking on so long as it's useful to the party or politician making it.) But the fact that the Liberals abandoned their pledge of "stable, predictable" increases so soon after the last minimum wage increase says something about where the province is heading next year, and how the government is trying to frame the election.

This hike pushes Ontario near the top of the list in terms of the highest minimum wage in the country. "Small businesses, who don't share the larger profit margins of big business, will be forced to make hard choices, including cutting hours and jobs".

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"This (is) money that goes to bread, it goes to diapers, it goes to bus fares, it goes to rent", he said. "We have to make sure businesses have what they need to keep growing, and we also have to make sure that everyone in the province can benefit from that growth".

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