The Federation is part of the Fight for $15 & Fairness, a broad and diverse group calling for fair wages and decent work for all in Ontario. In order to combat low wage, part-time, and temporary jobs the Fight for $15 & Fairness campaign calls for a $15 minimum wage and legislative changes to deliver fairness to workers in the form of fair scheduling, decent hours, easier paths to unionization, paid sick days and much more. In June 2017 the Ontario government put forward Bill 148, Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, which proposes raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour by January 2019 and a package of positive changes to labour law. If adopted, this would represent a huge victory for all workers and students, who are most often also workers.
Students working minimum wage today need to work more than twice as many hours as previous generations to pay for a semester of school. In 1991 it took students on average 329 hours or 9 weeks working at minimum wage in Ontario to pay for tuition. Today, students must work at least 721 hours or 21 full time workweeks to pay for tuition fees in the province.
Due to this, the Federation, along with the Fight for $15 and Fairness support many of the changes put forward in Bill 148 such as fair wages, equal pay for equal work and better scheduling practices. However, with this victory, there is still much more to be done in order to guarantee decent work for all and address workplace issues that particularly affect students. Bill 148 does not eliminate the subminimum wage for students and liquor servers; the equal pay language in the bill needs to be stronger to ensure that it be effective for all workers and exemptions from fair scheduling policies needs to be removed to ensure employers cannot get around their obligations. With all of these countless changes to Bill 148 there is still room for improvement. It is important to let our political leaders know that students believe in decent work for all within our communities.
Read our full fact sheet on Fairness and Student Employment.