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Ontario Proposes Minimum Pay Rates for Government Contracts

April 18, 2018

Ontario Proposes Minimum Pay Rates for Government Contracts

Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced the Government Contract Wages Act, 2018 (the “Act”), on April 17, 2018. The proposed Act, if passed, would set minimum wages for workers in certain sectors under government contract.
If passed, the Act would update the existing Fair Wage Policy, last updated in 1995, and will apply to contracts with all government ministries, and with specified government agencies and Crown corporations. Highlights of the proposed changes contemplate the establishment of:

  • New minimum wage rates for building cleaning work and security services work provided for buildings owned and occupied by or leased by government entities;
  • New minimum wage rates for construction work in four sectors (roads; heavy engineering; sewer and water mains; and industrial, commercial and institutional), provided under contracts with government entities;
  • New minimum wage rates that contractors and sub-contractors would be required to pay their employees when bidding on government contracts; and
  • The appointment of a Director of Government Contract Wages (the “Director”) who would have the power to establish different government contract minimum wages for various situations and amend the minimum wage rates.

As proposed, the Fair Wage Policy wage schedules would be developed through consultation with partners and stakeholders, and the new wage requirements would only be applicable to new contracts.
The Act is the latest in the series of legislation introduced by the Liberals to overhaul Ontario’s workplaces, including Bill 148 and the recently announced mandatory disclosure legislation.
It is important to underscore that these changes have not yet been passed into law, so it remains unclear which changes will ultimately be adopted and implemented by the Ontario government. Further updates and information will be provided as the Bill progresses. In the interim, if you have any questions about the potential implications of these proposed changes within your organization,  please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer.

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