Minimum Wage Increase and Other Proposed Changes to Ontario Labour Laws
Labour Ministry Looks to Address Changes in Ontario’s Employment Landscape
Although there are published statistics and abstract evidence reflecting the resurgence of the economy in Ontario, the employment landscape across the province has undoubtedly changed over the past several years. Whereas full-time employment may have been the norm just one or two decades ago, there are many Ontarians who are now attempting to support themselves and their families through part-time or contract work.
While this shift has been embraced by many employers, especially those in the retail and service industries, to help reduce their overall operating costs and optimize profits, it has produced a vastly different reaction in the province’s workforce; job security, absence of benefits/medical coverage, limited opportunity for advancement, and lack of disposable income for leisure activities are just some of the issues faced by those working restricted hours and/or at minimum wage.
Perhaps it is this confluence of circumstances that has led the Ontario Ministry of Labour to propose several changes to the province’s employment and labour laws. A majority of the changes are slated to take effect on January 1, 2018, with the most highly-reported amendment being a minimum wage increase from its current $11.40 per hour to $15.00 per hour. It is important to note that this would be done incrementally; the hourly rate would rise to $14.00 on January 1, 2018 then move to the $15.00 level one year later.
But there are numerous other less-publicized changes to the Employment Standards Act (ESA) that will also apply to the many people in Ontario’s labour force who are employed on any of the following bases:
The most significant of these modifications would include:
- Equal pay for performing the same jobs/work done by full-time employees
- The facility to request a review of one’s pay rate without reprisal/repercussion
- Electronic agreements between employers-employees will be considered binding
- A minimum three hours’ pay for shifts cancelled within 48 hours of the start time
- Options to accept or refuse shifts if asked to work with less than four days’ notice
- A right to request schedule or location changes after three months of employment
- Employees assigned by temporary help agencies must receive at least one week’s notice of termination, or paid the difference up to one week’s pay, if their job was scheduled to last more than three months but is being ended prematurely
In addition to the above, there are several other proposed amendments that would likely be of general interest to members of the provincial workforce; such changes encompass the following:
- Three weeks’ paid vacation after five years of service with the same employer
- Entitlement to receive one’s average regular daily wages for public holiday pay
- A right to 10 days’ personal emergency leave per year, including two paid days
- An increase in family medical leave – (up to) 27 weeks within a 52-week period
- Employers prohibited from requesting a sick note for personal emergency leave
- An arbitration process to determine/award employees interest on unpaid wages
- Penalties and fines for employers who do not comply with employment standards
The scope of these proposed changes is certainly substantial, and with the target date of January 1, 2018 rapidly approaching, it would be advisable for workers who will or could be affected by any of the amendments to invest the time and familiarize themselves on what might lie ahead.
More information on these proposed changes can be obtained from the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s backgrounder.
Placement Agency Professionals Can Be Valuable Assets to Ontario Job Seekers
As stated above, the Ontario economy is experiencing a renaissance after several leaner years; consequently, employment opportunities have responded accordingly, albeit more skewed toward the non-full-time sector. However, whether individuals are seeking work in a full-time or part-time capacity, or a variation thereof, job hunting can be a challenge regardless of the market or its size.
To that end, people looking to enter the workforce for the first time, further their career, or make a substantial change to their present situation would be wise to consult with the specialists from Winters Technical Staffing, one of the leading recruitment and placement agencies in the Toronto area for the past 45 years. Based on their extensive experience and a history of success, the consultants from Winters Technical Staffing can be valuable resources/assets for job seekers looking for work from entry-level roles to more senior positions in a wide range of industries including but not limited to:
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Contact Winters Today
If you are looking to enter, re-enter, or change paths in the Ontario job market, whether in a full-time, part-time, or temporary capacity, call Winters Technical Staffing today at 416-495-7422 or contact us to arrange your no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable professionals.