Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Tuesday January 9, 2018
Province vows to step up enforcement to ensure $14-minimum-wage is paid
The Ontario government is stepping up enforcement to ensure employers are paying workers the new $14-an-hour minimum wage.
Labour Minister Kevin Flynn said Monday that up to 175 new employment standards officers are being hired to inspect workplaces that may not be abiding with the hourly increase from $11.60 that took effect Jan. 1.
“You can’t break the law in the province of Ontario; you have to pay the minimum wage,” Flynn told reporters at Queen’s Park.
“Unfortunately, it appears some employers are abandoning the spirit of this legislation and some may even be doing more than that,” the minister said.
“The stories we’ve all heard over the past week have not only been disappointing, but quite frankly they’ve made the premier, myself, and others in this province angry,” he said.
That was a reference to the children of Tim Hortons’ billionaire co-founders reducing benefits to employees in response to the wage hike at their two franchises in Cobourg.
Ron Joyce Jr., whose father co-founded the coffee shop chain, and his wife, Jeri Horton-Joyce, daughter of Tim Horton, told workers they would no longer be entitled to paid breaks and would have to pay more for dental and health benefits.
The couple said the measures were to help their company cope with the jump in wages. Unlike independent businesses, franchisees cannot simply raise prices to offset higher labour costs.
Similarly, a Scarborough Tim Hortons outlet banned employees from accepting tips and stripped them of paid breaks in response to a $2.40-wage-rise.
Tim Hortons’ corporate parent has dubbed them a “rogue group,” the actions of which “do not reflect the values of our brand.”
Echoing Premier Kathleen Wynne, Flynn warned such “bullying behaviour will not be tolerated. (Source: Toronto Star)