Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced that Ontario’s minimum wage will rise to the $15 per hour mark by January 2019, phased in with a $14-per-hour increase at the start of 2018.
The announcement makes Ontario the second province to adopt a $15 per hour minimum wage. Last October, Rachel Notley’s NDP government in Alberta announced that the minimum wage would rise to $15 per hour by October 2018, just months before Ontario is set to adopt the same rate.
It also signals a huge victory for the Fight for $15 and Fairness movement, which has been advocating for a $15 minimum wage for several years.
In addition to the increase to minimum wage, the Liberal government is also moving ahead with an impressive package of labour reforms designed to help lower-income workers. Employers will be legally required to pay part-time, temporary, and seasonal employees the same rate as is paid to full-time employees doing the same work. As well, all workers will be entitled to two paid emergency leave days, and must be paid for a minimum of three hours work if their shift is cancelled within 48 hours.
Serving wage, currently set at $9.90 per hour, will rise to $13.05 per hour by 2019.
“These changes will ensure every hard-working Ontarian has the chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn, in a press release. “Fairness and decency must be the defining values of our workplace.”