Ontario labour reforms freeze minimum wage, cuts leave days
Premier Doug Ford speaks to media at Queens Park, in Toronto, on Monday, Nov. 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, November 21, 2018 4:20PM EST
TORONTO -- The Ontario government has passed sweeping labour reform legislation that rolls back many changes brought in by the previous Liberal regime.
The law freezes the minimum wage at $14 an hour until 2020 and cuts two paid personal leave days for workers, among other things.
The governing Progressive Conservatives have said the changes made by their predecessors imposed significant costs on businesses and argued the new legislation would ease that burden.
The measures were applauded by some in the business community but condemned by anti-poverty activists, union leaders and opposition parties, who say the changes will make life harder for average people.
The government has said Premier Doug Ford received death threats and the labour minister had her constituency office vandalized after the legislation was introduced last month -- incidents that were denounced by all parties.
Labour and advocacy groups have also raised the alarm at the short time frame allotted for consultation on the legislation, with many saying they were denied the chance to weigh in.
Ontario's minimum wage increased from $11.60 to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, and was set to rise to $15 an hour next year as a result of the Liberals' labour laws.
Under the government's new legislation, it will remain at $14 until October 2020, with future increases tied to the rate of inflation.
The law will also bring the total of paid personal leave days down to eight from 10 -- three for personal illness, two for bereavement leave and three for family responsibilities.
The legislation keeps provisions brought in by the Liberals that granted workers up to 10 days of leave if they or their child experiences domestic or sexual violence. It will also maintain regulations that grant Ontario workers three weeks of paid vacation after five years of service.
A number of scheduling provisions will be eliminated, however, including a minimum of three hours pay in the event a shift is cancelled 48 hours or less before it was scheduled to begin.