May 23, 2017
By Michael Kramer
A report on Ontario labour laws was released today – recommending wide-ranging updates to workers’ rights.
The long-awaited report makes 173 recommendations – and among the key suggestions the government will have to consider is an item referred to as – “an anachronism.”
Ontario is one of only three provinces that pays liquor servers a smaller minimum wage – currently $9.90 per hour – which disproportionately affects women. The report recommends that be phased out over three years.
The report also says part-time, casual, contract, temporary and seasonal employees should be paid the same rate as a full-time employee doing comparable work – unless justified on grounds such as seniority.
It’s also recommended that the government look at how to extend basic health benefits – such as drug, dental, vision and mental health services – to part-time, temporary, contract, casual and seasonal employees – as well as full-time employees who don’t have benefits – and workers who are self-employed.
Another recommendation is that all employees should be given a week of unpaid personal emergency leave – which is currently only available when a workplace employs more than 50 people. Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada with a small-employer exemption for leaves.
The report also calls for an increase in paid vacation time for employees of longer than five years – to three weeks time off.
The Changing Workplaces report was issued by two labour law experts – who spent two years consulting with workers, unions and businesses.