Ontario NDP Calls For Equal Pay for Equal Work

Mr. Taras Natyshak: My question is to the Premier. Later today, Ryerson University will release a study labelled A Public Health Crisis in the Making that reveals the devastating toll temp agency work can take on workers. In some cases, after child care and deductions were paid to the temp agency, these employees made as little as $3 an hour—$3 an hour in 2016.

Speaker, will the Premier commit today to increase the province’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and ensure that part-time temporary agency workers receive the same pay for the same work they often do standing right next to other employees?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: Minister of Labour.

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: Thank you to the member for that question. It’s a very important question because, certainly on this side of the House, we realize that employees deserve to be treated fairly at work and that they have the right to work in a safe workplace.

We’re committed, as a government, to ensuring the strongest protection for those workers. We recognize—I think that a number of people in this House brought it up, saying that greater protection is something that we need to look at for those people who work at temporary help agencies. That’s why we launched the Changing Workplaces Review: to do an in-depth examination of all the issues that are affecting Ontario’s employees today as the economy is changing.

We’ve been out consulting. We’ve consulted with business. We’ve consulted with labour. We’ve consulted with the advocacy groups. I will tell you that, last Friday, was the last day for consultations.

The interim report is out. Some of the recommendations have been outlined as options for that government. I suspect that we’re going to see some good discussion on this and some much needed change.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.

Mr. Taras Natyshak: New Democrats don’t think that three out of every 10 workers in this province should have to struggle in conditions that one of the researchers called “modern-day slavery.”

It’s time to ensure that temporary workers earn the same wage as permanent workers. If you’re doing the same work, you should get the same pay. People deserve to be able to plan for a future for their families and not have to compromise their well-being, and they deserve to know that there will be a future there for the next generation.

Will the Premier listen to the evidence and ensure that temporary and part-time workers in this province receive the same wage for the same work?

Hon. Kevin Daniel Flynn: I want to thank the member again for the important question that he has just asked.

With the Changing Workplaces Review, we went out and we wanted to protect employees and we wanted to support Ontario business. I think that is something that anybody in this chamber would want, Speaker.

We want to thank everybody from all the sectors of our society who have stepped forward and have given us their best advice. It’s reports just like the member has outlined—the one that has come out at Ryerson University—that just demonstrate how important and how necessary it is that we do this in-depth examination.

As I said, the formal consultation ended last Friday, and people have stepped forward. We’ve heard from people from business, from labour, advocacy groups, large business, small business. The interim report is online. It remains available online.

We’re looking forward to the recommendations and the type of input that’s contained in the Ryerson report to move forward on this important issue.