NEWS July 20, 2017
Ontario is taking historic action to create more opportunity and security for workers with a plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs. This includes hiking the minimum wage, ensuring part-time workers are paid the same hourly wage as full-time workers, introducing paid sick days for every worker and stepping up enforcement of employment laws.
Today, MPPs are hosting a consultation session in Hamilton on the province’s proposed Bill 148, also known as the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017. In order to help develop this legislation, the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs is hearing from local residents and businesses in ten communities across Ontario throughout July.
Over the past three years, Ontario's economy has outperformed all G7 countries in terms of real GDP growth. While exports and business investments are increasing and the unemployment rate is at a 16-year low, the nature of work has changed. Many workers are struggling to support their families on part-time, contract or minimum-wage work. Government has a responsibility to address precarious employment and ensure Ontario workers are protected by updating the province's labour and employment laws.
Through a broad, inclusive consultation process, including engaging residents in Hamilton, the
province will ensure proposed reforms give all workers the opportunity to succeed and get
Protecting workers and supporting business is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.
"Our small business partners pay at least $15/hr and have advance scheduling policies in place. Even our partners in food and retail have discovered that the benefits of improved wages and working conditions pay off in the form of drastically reduced turnover, increased productivity and higher levels of customer retention. We need to ask ourselves, what kind of economy do we want to build in Ontario? One driven by well-managed businesses that invest in their workforce, thus spurring local spending power, or one that relies on low-wage jobs and lowest common denominator standards? "Cheap" labour isn't really cheap, employing decent work practices makes business sense for us all."
— Amanda Teferloth, the Better Way to Build the Economy Alliance
"Small business entrepreneurs and mom & pop businesses have always been the backbone of local economies and historically, large companies created an environment for small businesses to thrive. As an owner of a second-generation family business I have noticed over the years how low wages have upset the balance of this relationship, how they affected the demographics of our clientele, and the benefits of paying our employee's a living wage. A living wage will help to
bring the balance back because it will help to level the playing field for entrepreneurs and small business with the large multinational retailers and chain stores. When the larger retailers also have to pay their workers a living wage they will incur the same costs as those who are self-employed and customer service over price becomes the focus for consumers. The consumers will also have more expendable income to put back into the local economy. Paying my employees a living wage means I have less turnover, which saves me money and brings a level of stability to my business. It also means my employees feel appreciated and invested in the operations of the company."
— Tim Simmons, Owner and Operator, Heritage Weddings & Coordinators.
"We are happy that the Ontario Government is taking steps towards recognizing that minimum wage just isn't enough to live on. The realities of the Canadian workforce have changed and these legislative changes will help our most vulnerable employees catch up."
— Josie Rudderham, Owner, Cake & Loaf Bakery
“Ontarians have felt the impact of the current low-wage, precarious job market which has led to a race-to-the-bottom as employers increasingly offer part-time jobs or contract-to-contract positions without benefits or security. This legislation is about providing workers with a decent living wage, which we believe can also be compatible with vibrant, healthy businesses. It’s not a question of pitting one against the other. We need both to succeed.”
— Unifor, Regional Director Naureen Rizvi
"We believe it is the role of government to step up and protect workers as best we can. We see an opportunity to build fairer, more prosperous workplaces in Hamilton and across the province. This is the time for us to be focused and fair and bold — not simply to describe and reassert our values, but to defend them and act on them."
— Ted McMeekin, MPP for Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale
"While some choose to put the bottom line ahead of people working hard to provide for their family, our government believes in protecting all citizens, creating better opportunities for all workers, and giving families hope and confidence about the future. Government must be a force for good. Our goal must be to build a society where fairness, opportunity and security are available to everyone."
— Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour
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