Subsequent to the recent passage of Bill 148, Ontario’s “Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act,” the University of Toronto has increased the minimum rate of pay for most non-union casual employees to $15 an hour as of Jan. 1, 2018. This rate is consistent with the rates of unionized casual staff recently negotiated in settlements with the University’s largest bargaining units, CUPE and USW.
The University implemented the increase to $15 an hour a year before the legislated Jan. 1, 2019 deadline. (The legislation brings the provincial minimum wage to $14 an hour beginning in January 2018.)
Kelly Hannah-Moffat, vice-president, human resources and equity, said: “The University was an active participant in the Changing Workplaces Review – an independent review that contributed to the drafting of this legislation. We know that the changes in wages and other provisions will contribute to the University’s employer-of-choice status.”
Leanne MacMillan, CUPE service representative, worked with several CUPE bargaining units over the last year to help reach agreements that included the minimum $15 an hour wage. “We take our hats off to the employer who agreed to this wage during negotiations,” she said. “We believe it was because we worked hard to obtain it, and because it was the right thing to do.
“We are also pleased this increase was done without reducing any existing benefits to our members. Some employers have tried to do this, but the University did not ask for any concessions.”
Colleen Burke, president of USW Local 1998, was glad that the University would immediately raise wages to $15 an hour: “I was very pleased that our team was able to bargain an immediate increase to $15 for our casual members. This will make a big difference for workers struggling to make ends meet. The University of Toronto has shown leadership by bringing this in a year ahead of the legislation.”
The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, also known as Bill 148, which was voted into law on Nov. 22 and received Royal Assent on Nov. 27, makes sweeping changes to employment legislation.
U of T is working with university divisions affected by the legislative changes on the financial implications of Bill 148.