TORONTO, December 27, 2017 -- Ringing in the new year has taken a new meaning for millions of workers across Ontario, who are eagerly counting down to January 1st when a host of labour law reforms, including a $14 minimum wage, will come into effect.
“For most people in this province, wages have not kept up with the rising cost of living, whether it is skyrocketing rents, childcare fees or transportation costs,” said Uthaiya Singham who will benefit from the raise to $14. “This increase in the minimum wage will make a huge difference for many people’s ability to buy groceries and keep a roof over their head.”
After years of community organizing spearheaded by the Fight for $15 & Fairness Campaign, Bill 148: Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act became law last month and is being phased in over the next year. On January 1st, 2018:
- Adult general minimum wage will increase to $14.00 from $11.60.
- Minimum wage for students under the age 18 will increase to $13.15 from $10.90.
- Minimum wage for liquor servers will increase to $12.20 from $10.10.
- 10 days of job-protected, emergency leave will be extended to all workers, 2 of which will be paid (a first in Canada).
- Workers will become eligible for this leave provision after just 1 week on the job.
- Doctor’s note requirement will be removed.
“Addressing poverty is crucial for the health of our communities, and a $14 minimum wage takes us one step closer to bringing people above the poverty line,” said Dr. Andrew Pinto, who is a member of the Decent Work and Health Network. “The increased minimum wage and new paid emergency leave days will make it a little easier for workers to fill their prescriptions and get the medical care they need, but as health providers, we know that more is needed.”
As part of Bill 148, the general minimum wage is set to increase to $15 on January 1st, 2019, but Big Business Lobbyists are continuing their fear-mongering campaign to delay the phase-in.
“Anyone who is still calling to delay $15 minimum wage needs to take a good hard look in the mirror, because what they are essentially supporting is keeping workers, and their families, in poverty,” said Deena Ladd, coordinator of the Workers’ Action Centre. “That is not an option.”