(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