Poor working conditions, low wages, discrimination, and lack of protection. This is what workers in Ontario have been experiencing for decades. The Workers’ Action Centre has organized to make our labour laws fair and raise wages for over 15 years. As a result, the Ontario government was forced to review our labour laws over the past two years to ensure better protections for workers in precarious jobs. Since that time, we have organized workers and our allies through the Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign, which has become a province-wide grassroots movement for decent work. The strength of our united demands for better labour laws and a $15 minimum wage for all workers led to the passing of Bill 148, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act on November 27, 2017. While we have not won all of our demands, our collective power was successful in making Bill 148 stronger to protect more workers. Now 1.7 million Ontario workers will benefit from minimum wage increases as well as new protections.
We are now organizing to make sure that every worker in Ontario knows their rights and how to protect themselves in the workplace. History has shown us that if we do not fight to keep and expand our rights, then they can be taken away. When candidates ask you for your vote at the 2018 provincial election, make sure they will support a poverty free minimum wage of $15 and fairness in the workplace!
Below is a list of some of your new rights at work. Please use and share this information with your family, friends, and coworkers.
As of January 1, 2018, the following new rights are in force:
- $14 general minimum wage
- $13.15 minimum wage for students under 18
- $12.20 minimum wage for liquor servers
- 10 days of personal emergency leave for all workers, 2 of those days will be paid, and a doctor’s note is not required.
- 3 weeks’ paid vacation after 5 years of working at the same company.
- Domestic or sexual violence leave of up to 10 individual days of leave and up to 15 weeks of leave if the worker or the worker’s child must deal with domestic or sexual violence or the threat of domestic or sexual violence. The first 5 days of leave each year will be paid.
- Temporary help agencies will have to give workers one week’s written notice or pay in lieu of notice if a longer term assignment ends early.
- Forming a union will be easier for homecare workers, building service workers, and temp agency workers. An employer must recognize a union if the majority of employees signs union cards. (A subsequent vote no longer has to take place.)
- Misclassification of employees as “independent contractors” is against the law. Employers will be responsible for proving that an individual is not an employee.
- Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers can no longer require that workers wear footwear with an elevated heel, except in cases where such footwear ensures workers’ safety.
Coming this spring
As of April 1, 2018, the following new rights will come into force:
- Equal pay for equal work for casual, part-time, contract, and temporary workers doing work similar to full-time workers.
- Equal pay for equal work for temp agency workers doing work similar to permanent employees
Coming next year – the $15 minimum wage and more
As of January 1, 2019, the following new rights will come into force:
- $15 general minimum wage
- $14.10 minimum wage for students under 18
- $13.05 minimum wage for liquor servers
- Fairer Scheduling
- Workers will have the job protected right to refuse shifts if the employer gives less than 4 days’ (96 hours’) notice.
- Workers will have the job protected right to ask for a schedule or location change after working at a company for 3 months.
- 3 hours of pay for shift cancellation with less than 2 days’ (48 hours’) notice.
- 3 hours of pay for on-call workers that are not called in or work less than 3 hours.