April 04, 2018

Media Release: Equal pay awareness blitz hits campuses on April 4, “Awareness is the first step in enforcement” says the Fight for $15 and Fairness

(TORONTO, ON) -- Today, workers at university and college campuses across Ontario are mobilizing to promote and enforce equal pay for part-time, contract, casual, seasonal and temporary workers.

“The new laws that came into effect on April 1 are all about promoting decent work with hours that workers can live on,” said Kimberly Ellis-Hale a contract professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and member of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA) Contract Faculty Committee. “Precarious employment proliferates when the law allows employers to pay part-time or temporary workers less than their full-time co-workers. Too many employers have been creating part-time or contract jobs even when there is enough work to create more full-time, secure employment.”

The trend toward part-time insecure work can be seen at Ontario’s universities and colleges, where part-time and contract employment has far outstripped full-time employment. “Contract faculty, with low pay, few benefits and no job security, now do the bulk of teaching because their labour is cheaper,” said RM Kennedy, Chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) College Faculty Division. “We’re also seeing the same trend toward precarious work for the staff who support and maintain our post-secondary system. Too many part-time support staff and contract faculty are getting lower pay for the same work as their full-time colleagues. It’s time to close this gap.”

“Workers of colour and newcomer workers are over-represented among those working involuntarily in part-time employment,” said Alia Karim a student leader with the Fight for $15 & Fairness at York University. “As a result, these same workers earn less, receive fewer benefits, and are short-changed on holiday pay. By addressing such unfair treatment, the new laws will go a long way toward closing the growing pay equity gap.”

“Another important equal pay win for workers in the new legislation is public holiday pay,” said Deena Ladd, Coordinator of the Workers’ Action Centre. “The old formula for calculating holiday pay meant that many part-time workers received as little as one-tenth the daily pay of their full-time co-workers when they worked on a statutory holiday. The new laws eliminate this financial incentive for employers to rely on part-time work instead of offering full-time jobs.”

“The first step in enforcing and protecting our legislative victories is making sure that post-secondary workers, including students, staff and faculty, know what the laws are and how to access them,” said Pam Frache, coordinator of the Fight for $15 & Fairness. “April 4 is just one of many upcoming actions to highlight, enforce and extend our legislative rights.”

Under the revised Employment Standards Act, employers are now required to offer the same rate of pay to part-time, contract, casual, temporary and seasonal employees, who are doing substantially the same work in the same workplaces as their full-time, permanent counterparts. The same standards apply to temporary agency workers who are doing substantially the same work, in the same workplaces as directly-hired employees of the client company.


The Fight for $15 and Fairness is a growing network of workers committed to fighting for decent work, and includes students, faculty, labour, health providers, temp agency workers, minimum wage earners, anti-poverty groups and faith leaders. To learn more, visit: 15andFairness.org.

For more information or to arrange interviews:

Pam Frache, Ontario Coordinator, Fight for $15 and Fairness           416-578-3472

Thunder Bay:      Lakehead University              Laurie Forbes              807-343-8966

Kingston:             St. Lawrence College             Grant Currie                 613-893-2505

St. Catharines:   Brock University                      Quinn Ascah               905-933-2358

Kitchener:            Conestoga College                Lana-Lee Hardacre    519 501-0994

Waterloo:             Wilfrid Laurier University       Kimberly Ellis-Hale     519-574-0402

Guelph:                University of Guelph              Janice Folk-Dawson  519-766-8376

Scarbrough:        Scarborough Town Centre   Linda Bernard             647-299-53870

Toronto:               York University                        Alia Karim                     647-915-0766

                              Seneca College at York         Anna Ainsworth          647-832-7002

                              Ryerson University                 Rajean Hoilett              289-923-3534

                              Centennial College                RM Kennedy               416-346-8382