Employers in Ontario are now required to pay part-time workers the same rate as full-time employees doing the same job.
The legislation, which came into effect across Ontario on April 1, makes it illegal for part-time, casual and seasonal employees to make less than their full-time counterparts, if they are doing the same work.
Ontario is the first jurisdiction in North America to legally require equal pay for part-time employees. This is especially advantageous for students, who often aren’t able to balance full-time work hours on top of their classes. They end up making less money at their jobs, just for being part-time workers.
“For students, this is really good news,” said Maurice Mazerolle, director of the Centre for Labour Management Relations (CLMR) at Ryerson University.
Executive director of the CLMR Buzz Hargrove agreed, “It’s a great move from the government.”
However, Hargrove, who has been advocating for legislation like this for many years, has some concerns.
“Will employers comply? How well is this going to be enforced?” Hargrove says there are still lots of questions that need to be answered to ensure these rules have the intended effect.
Mazerolle said he was glad to hear about the legislation being put into effect officially, but said many workplaces with a union already pay their workers equally.
Ryerson’s HR department has not yet confirmed with the Ryersonian if this new legislation will have an effect on student workers at the school, or if they’ve always paid their employees equally. Career Boost (formerly work study) positions are not unionized at Ryerson, while full-time positions are.
The new “equal pay for equal work” rule came from the province’s Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. This is the same act that raised Ontario’s minimum was from $11.40 an hour to $14 on Jan. 1.
To continue with this act, Premier Kathleen Wynne promised a $15 minimum wage, which set to go into effect next January.