Ontario will introduce legislation today that would ensure that people working in construction, building cleaning or security jobs under contracts with the government will be paid the fair, prevailing wage in those sectors.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was at the United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters, Local 46, in Toronto today to announce that the province is taking action to ensure fair wages are paid for work on government contracts in those sectors. The proposed Government Contract Wages Act, 2018, would, if passed, allow Ontario to establish minimum rates of pay for workers in construction, building cleaning and security services work, requiring contractors and subcontractors to pay according to those rates. This fair wage policy would be enshrined in legislation.
The legislation would build on historic actions Ontario has already taken to create more opportunity and security for workers and help them get ahead in a rapidly changing economy. The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, passed last fall, takes action to protect workers by:
Raising the minimum wage to $14 this year and again to $15 next year
Ensuring equal pay for equal work for part-time, casual and seasonal workers performing substantially the same duties as full-time workers, as of April 1
Creating up to five days of paid leave and up to 17 weeks of unpaid leave for survivors of gender-based violence
Mandating 10 days of emergency leave for all workers, including two paid days, because no one’s job should be at risk if they need to deal with a serious family or personal emergency.
Ontario is also increasing opportunity and fairness for workers through its Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategy. That strategy is the first of its kind in Canada and aims to make workplaces fairer for all women. It also includes landmark pay transparency legislation that would:
Require certain employers to report on differences in compensation among their workforce based on gender and other prescribed characteristics
Mandate that publicly advertised job postings in Ontario include a compensation range
Bar employers from asking a job applicant about past compensation or seeking that information through other means.
Protecting wages and ensuring workers can earn a fair wage is part of the government’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, and easier access to affordable child care.