Premier Kathleen Wynne released the following statement today after meeting with workers to discuss the government’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act:
“This morning I had the opportunity to hear directly from workers about the changes we’re making with the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. As the bill returns to committee today, it was important to me to hear the voices of some of the millions of people who will be impacted by these changes. What I heard was similar to what I’ve been hearing from people in every corner of the province — it is time for action.
The economy has changed. People are working harder than ever, but they just can’t get ahead. Parents are worried about whether they can pay for their child’s university or college tuition, or how they’ll afford retirement. Many are struggling to put food on the table and keep up with their bills. In a province like Ontario, where our economy is growing and unemployment is at a 17-year low, this is not fair and not acceptable. The system needs to work better and be fairer to the growing number of people who are put on contract, who are working part-time or who are among the nearly 30 percent of workers earning less than $15 an hour. Ontario can and must do better.
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act is about building the kind of province where anyone who works full time is able to buy groceries, make rent and care for their family. It is about cracking down on businesses that take advantage of part-time workers by paying them less and denying them benefits.
On January 1, we are increasing the minimum wage to $14 an hour, and then increasing it to $15 an hour one year later. We are making it illegal to pay part-time or contract workers less than full-time workers for doing the same work. We are introducing paid sick days for every worker, stepping up enforcement of employment laws and giving workers at least three weeks’ vacation after five years with the same employer. We are also making employee scheduling fairer and expanding personal emergency leave so all employees receive at least 10 days per year, including two days of paid leave.
Creating fairness for workers is the right thing to do. In these turbulent times, it is government’s job to lead. We have been listening to the challenges people are dealing with and we will continue to listen, because it is the voices and experiences of real people across Ontario that demand these bold, decisive steps to create security and fairness for every worker.”