Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government announcement that it would stall the increase to minimum wage scheduled for 2019 is another example of Ontario Premier Ford’s ‘Promises Made Promises Kept’ campaign trail mantra.
Labour Minister Laurie Scott confirmed in a press conference that the minimum wage will remain at $14 an hour rather than rising to $15 as planned by the previous Liberal government.
Ontario’s minimum wage increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, drawing complaints from businesses and prompting some to raise prices and cut staff hours and employee benefits.
“The increase of 20 per cent this year was a lot for businesses to absorb so we’re putting a pause on the minimum wage,” Scott said.
The government is currently conducting a review of other labour reform legislation brought in by the Liberals, which are being opposed by business groups. They’ve asked the government to at least repeal parts of it.
Those decisions will be announced later in the fall.
Among the things likely to be repealed is the new sick day and pay equity protections granted to Ontario workers this year.
Such a move would roll back reforms to employment standards and workplace law that were approved by the previous government.
Those reforms pushed the minimum wage up 20 per cent at the start of this year, forced employers to give workers at least 10 days off annually (two of them paid) for illness or personal emergencies, and mandated that part-time and temporary employees be paid the same rate as full-time staff doing the same job.
Two of Ontario’s largest organizations representing businesses are calling for the repeal of the bill that put those changes into law, the Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs Act (Bill 148).
The group’s biggest concerns are the requirements for paid personal emergency leave days and for paying part-time and casual workers the same rate as full-timers.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce also wants Bill 148 repealed.
So far besides the opposition and other PC critics protesting these rollbacks, the public reaction seems muted. And that mute reaction would turn to jubilation if Premier Ford announces no tax for those earning less than $30K. Perhaps that announcement should be made at the time when the other rollbacks are confirmed in the months to come. -CINEWS