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Ontario passes labour reform, minimum wage increase



The ruling Liberal Party passed a major labour reform bill at the Ontario legislature on Wednesday, confirming a raise of the minimum wage and equal pay for part-time workers among other items.

The provincial minimum wage currently sits at $11.60 and is scheduled to jump to $14 on Jan 1 of next year and $15 in 2019.

The plan has been popular with labour advocates and low income demographics, but businesses argue the hike is too fast and job losses will follow it.

Queen’s Park argues that the bump for minimum wage will positively impact the economy as lower income workers will spend more within the province.

The legislation, formally known as Bill 148 or the “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act”, is the result of a lengthy review ordered by the by the provincial government on employment and labour law.

The Progressive Conservatives said they supported the bill but would’ve have waited longer to roll it out.

Ontario Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said that while the provincial economy was doing well, not everyone is able tap into the wealth.

“It needs to change. Bill 148 is that change,” Mr Flynn made clear in the legislature on Wednesday.

Other items include an addition to the Occupational Health and Safety Act that would block employers from forcing workers to wear high heels “unless it is required for the worker to perform his or her work safely.”

More details to follow. Image 1 of Queen’s Park from Doug Draper/Niagara at Large.  ■

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