Following Ontario's June 1, 2014, minimum wage increase to $11, the province is introducing legislation to provide more fairness for both employees and businesses, and ensure its minimum wage keeps pace with the cost of living.
The Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, 2014, is designed to further increase protections for vulnerable workers. The act would, if passed, help workers and companies by:
•tying future minimum wage increases to the Consumer Price Index
•eliminating the $10,000 cap on the recovery of unpaid wages and increasing the period of recovery from six and 12 months to two years for employees
•prohibiting employers from charging fees and seizing personal documents such as passports from temporary foreign workers
•making temporary help agencies and their clients liable for certain employment standards violations, helping to decrease the number of companies that hire individuals solely to work in unsafe conditions.
The province will also boost the number of enforcement officers in the province to ensure more workplaces are inspected and employees are protected, said the government.
"Taking the politics out of setting the minimum wage provides fairness for workers and predictability for businesses. This legislation, if passed, would also protect the most vulnerable workers and level the playing field for employers who play by the rules,” said Kevin Flynn, minister of labour.
If the legislation passes, increases to the minimum wage would be announced by April 1 of each year, and come into effect on Oct. 1.The act is a combination of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, originally introduced on Feb. 25, 2014, and the Stronger Workplaces for a Stronger Economy Act, originally introduced on Dec. 4, 2013.
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