ON April 1, Ontario will become the first jurisdiction in North America to mandate equal pay for equal work between casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal workers, and full-time or permanent workers.
Under the new rules, casual, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees cannot be paid at a rate of pay less than full-time or permanent employees if:
- They do substantially the same kind of work, in the same establishment
- Their work requires substantially the same skill, effort and responsibility
- Their work is performed under similar working conditions
Temporary help agencies also will not be permitted to pay assignment employees at a rate less than employees directly hired by the agency’s clients under these same conditions.
These changes are the result of the province’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 –representing the largest update to Ontario’s labour laws in a generation. The government raised the minimum wage to $14 an hour on January 1, 2018, and will further increase it to $15 an hour on January 1, 2019.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said: “Paying people the same wage for doing the same work is not only fair, it’s the right thing to do. Fairness and decency must be the defining values of our workplaces. These changes will ensure that every hard-working Ontarian has a chance to reach their full potential and share in Ontario’s prosperity. ”
- Other provisions of the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017 have already come into force, including more paid vacation time for employees with five years of employment with the same employer, and expanding and increasing several leaves of absence.
- The Changing Workplaces Review Final Report found that differential treatment based on part-time, casual, temporary contract or seasonal status was an unfair practice that affects one in four employees, particularly women, youth, older employees and minorities doing precarious work.
- The province is also enhancing workplace enforcement, penalties and education to ensure all new employee rights under its plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs are followed.