(May 18/17) As reported this weekend by the Toronto Star and CBC, the government has a new tone on the Changing Workplaces Review (CWR) changes that will be implemented. It has also raised the idea of a $15 minimum wage. This position comes out of left field, as minimum wage discussions had been expressly left out of the CWR.
The CWR proposes:
a return to card-based certification;
measures designed to artificially increase union membership;
a bureaucratic hurdle that would force employers to justify part-time jobs;
increased vacation pay; and
extended benefits and protections to part-time workers.
Although these changes are supposed to be debated by the Cabinet, it’s clear the Premier’s office is controlling the decisions. Minister Flynn’s comments show he has significantly changed his tone from previous discussions.
Restaurants Canada has spent the last few days meeting with government officials to share our grave concerns about these changes. We’ll continue to lobby government officials to head off these negative policy decisions.
We expect the Changing Workplaces Review final report to be released next week, along with the government’s response. Changes from this review are expected to be acted on this year, with possible legislation introduced this fall.
Signs indicate these changes and the minimum wage increases will be part of a wider campaign linking all of the government’s social programs, such as guaranteed basic income, poverty reduction, free tuition and welfare reforms.
It’s unclear if minimum wage increases would be introduced now, or as an election promise for next spring. The plan is to reach a $15 minimum wage over a multi-year period.