Ontario to increase minimum wage to $15 an hour in 2019
TORONTO - Ontario is raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2019, ensuring equal pay for part-time workers and increasing the minimum vacation entitlement as part of a major labour overhaul. Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Tuesday in response to a government-commissioned report released last week that included 173 recommendations addressing precarious work.
The Changing Workplaces review concluded that new technology, a shrinking manufacturing sector and fewer union jobs, among other factors, have left approximately one-third of Ontario’s 6.6 million workers vulnerable. The report didn’t examine the minimum wage, which is currently indexed to inflation and had been set to rise from $11.40 to $11.60 in October, but Wynne said raising it will make a difference in millions of people’s lives.
The minimum wage will rise to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and is set to increase to $15 the following year. About 10 per cent of Ontario workers are currently making minimum wage, but about 30 per cent are making less than $15 an hour - the majority of them women. Lower minimum wages for students under 18 and liquor servers will also rise during the same time frame, but those exemptions to the minimum wage will not be eliminated, as the report had recommended.