Today’s budget announcement is a disappointment to Ontario workers. Instead of moving forward on a much-needed minimum wage increase after a 3-year freeze, the government announced an Advisory Panel that would “provide advice on how to adjust Ontario’s minimum wages” and report back within 6 months of the passing of the budget.
The current minimum wage is 19% below the poverty line – Ontario workers cannot wait for a costly and time-consuming process to study the minimum wage. We need an increase to $14 now.
Government falls short of $10 million commitment
Five years ago, the Ontario government recognized that workers needed stronger protection at work and committed to adding $10 million for proactive employment standards enforcement. $5.5 million in funding is still needed in 2013 to meet this 5-year old commitment.
Today’s announcement of only $3 million in additional funding falls short of the government’s commitment and is a broken promise to Ontario workers.
In 2008, the government acknowledged that it was not acceptable to have only 20 inspectors to carry out inspectors for all of Ontario. Since 2008, the situation facing Ontario workers has only worsened, as outlined in recent reports released by the Law Commission of Ontario and United Way Toronto.
As negotiations commence to ensure the budget passes, the government still has time to fulfill its commitment for the full $5.5 million.