TORONTO – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has announced a host of changes to labour laws in the province, as the changing nature of work leaves people with less secure jobs, fewer benefits and fewer protections. A move to a $15-an-hour minimum wage is a key part of the plan. It would rise from $11.40 currently to $14 per hour in 2018, then to $15 in 2019. Here are some of the other planks of the Liberal government proposal:
— Casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees will be given equal pay to full-time employees for doing equal work. There would be exceptions based on seniority and a merit system.
— Lower minimum wage rates for liquor servers, students under 18, hunting and fishing guides, and homeworkers will also rise along with the general minimum wage.
— Once an employee works for a company for five years, they will be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation.
— Personal emergency leave would no longer only apply to workers at companies with 50 or more employees. All workers will get 10 days per year, two of them paid. Domestic or sexual violence will be included as a reason for personal emergency leave.
— Employers will not be allowed to request a sick note from an employee taking personal emergency leave.
— Give unpaid leave of up to 104 weeks to parents whose children die. It is currently only offered to parents when a child’s death is related to a crime.
— Employers must pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours notice.
— Employees can refuse shifts without repercussion if the employer gives them less than four days notice.
— Employees on call must be paid three hours at their regular pay rate.
— Employees will have the right to request changes to their schedule after working somewhere for three months.
— Temp agency workers must get at least one week’s notice when a job that was supposed to last longer than three months will end early. If that notice is not given, the employee must be paid the difference.
— Companies that misclassify workers as “independent contractors” instead of employees in order to skirt labour law obligations would be subject to fines.
— The maximum fine for employers who violate employment standards laws will be increased from $250, $500 and $1,000 for various violations to $350, $700 and $1,500. The government will publish the names of those who are fined.
— The maximum fines under the Labour Relations Act would increase from $2,000 for individuals and $25,000 for organizations to $5,000 and $100,000.
— Trainees will be afforded the same rights as all employees, but people on a co-op or internship program through school would not be.
— Make it easier for home care and community services workers, people in the building services sector, and those who work through temp agencies to unionize.
— Allow unions to access employee lists and certain contact information if the union can demonstrate it has the support of 20 per cent of employees.