Liberals would hike Ontario’s minimal wage to not less than $16, Del Duca says

An Ontario Liberal authorities would impose a “regional dwelling wage” beginning at $16 an hour and provides all staff moveable drug, dental and psychological well being advantages, the Star has discovered.

If Steven Del Duca succeeds Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford within the June 2 election, the Liberals would additionally present 10 paid sick days for Ontarians, up from the current three.

As effectively, the Grits would “ban underpaid gig and contract work, guarantee all Ontario companies supply equal pay for equal work (and) match as much as $1,000 in annual retirement financial savings for low-income earners, together with moveable financial savings plans for gig staff.”

Del Duca will unveil his celebration’s labour coverage platform — which it calls a “plan for financial dignity” — on Saturday.

The Liberal chief stated the blueprint “will present rapid restoration for staff in the present day, and safe new, long-term moveable advantages that allow all staff save for a great retirement.”

“In a province as rich and wholesome as ours, no full-time employee ought to battle to make ends meet,” stated Del Duca, noting Ford in 2018 cancelled the earlier Liberal authorities’s deliberate $15-an-hour minimal wage, only to finally raise it to that price this previous Jan. 1.

“We’ll improve the minimal wage to $16 an hour efficient Jan. 1, 2023, to assist the greater than 700,000 staff who have been denied three years of will increase to their wages,” the Liberal platform says.

“We’ll then seek the advice of broadly and develop a dwelling wage construction that components totally different wage charges in several areas of the province — recognizing that some areas are costlier to fulfill primary wants in than others,” it continues.

That implies staff in cities like Toronto, the place the price of dwelling is larger than in different elements of the province, might obtain a minimal wage higher than $16 an hour.

Labour unions have stated a “dwelling wage” in Toronto is $22 an hour, whereas in a metropolis like London it’s about $16.20.

NDP Chief Andrea Horwath has promised a $16 wage as of October if she turns into premier, and to extend it by $1 yearly till it’s $20 in 2026. Ford would elevate the $15 wage yearly on the degree of inflation every October.

Regardless that Ontario has a labour scarcity with some 330,000 jobs unfilled, Del Duca stated “lately financial dignity is briefly provide” within the province.

To deal with that, the Liberals would work with employers to “create a bundle of high-quality and inexpensive advantages” for all staff.

“Employers with out comparable advantages could be required to enrol their workers whereas providing staff the choice to opt-out. The plan shall be moveable and capable of observe staff between employers,” the platform says.

There would even be provisions for the self-employed.

‘We’ll encourage employers to contribute to the price of the bundle. Small companies shall be given an additional two years earlier than computerized enrolment is required and supplied with a tax credit score to contribute as much as 25 per cent of their staff’ advantages and improve labour retention,” the platform says.

Del Duca confused “there’s no significant safety or path to retirement for staff within the gig financial system” lately.

“Unions, just like the one I spent a great chunk of my working life build up, are being systematically undermined,” he stated.

“And the straightforward reality of the matter is that as our financial system continues to vary dramatically, our social security web has not saved up.”

Whereas Labour Minister Monte McNaughton has pushed office reforms as one of the crucial activist members of Ford’s cupboard, Del Duca stated “that’s simply political spin, not a deeply held perception” of the premier.

“Bear in mind buck-a-beer? The gas pump stickers? The unreadable license plates? It’s all simply smoke and mirrors and gimmicks with that man — not a critical plan,” he stated.

“Ontario has been dragged backwards to a time when the one individuals who had financial dignity have been those that have been wealthy sufficient to purchase it. That’s not the Ontario that we consider in.”

The Liberal platform says Ontario ought to have a look at transferring towards “a four-day work week” finally.

“Through the pandemic, folks confirmed outstanding flexibility, innovation and resolve in embracing new methods of doing work,” it says.

“On the identical time, folks felt extra depressed, anxious and overwhelmed. Adopting a four-day work week could be one other change, however one which consultants say might enhance high quality of life, work-life stability, and far wanted reduction and not using a loss in productiveness.”

The Liberals would “work with companies and labour teams of every type to design and consider the mannequin.”

In addition they pledged to revive earlier protections that Ford’s Tories have watered down, “together with one which ensures everyone seems to be paid equally and pretty for the work they do no matter gender or employment standing — together with part-time, informal and momentary staff.

“We’ll additionally deliver again guidelines that give staff a minimal of three hours’ pay for being on-call when they aren’t known as in or work lower than three hours.”

Robert Benzie is the Star’s Queen’s Park bureau chief and a reporter protecting Ontario politics. Observe him on Twitter: @robertbenzie

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