Diocese Seeks to Ensure All Employees Can Flourish

Posted July 24, 2017

“Statistics from the 2016 Hunger Count reveal that 335,944 of our friends, family and neighbours are forced to rely on the charity and inadequacy of food banks; a potent indicator that our minimum wage rate is woefully inadequate,” states a diocesan submission to a Queen’s Park committee reviewing proposed reforms included in Bill 148, the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act, 2017.

At the Ontario Prayer Breakfast, Archbishop Colin Johnson, metropolitan of the Ecclesiastical Province of Ontario and archbishop of Toronto, indicated that Anglicans strongly support many of the recommendations contained within the Changing Workplaces Review which informed the proposed legislation.

The diocese’s written submission to the legislature’s Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs focussed on three areas included within Bill 148: 1) increasing the minimum wage, 2) mandating equal pay for equal work and 3) expanding emergency leave and vacation entitlements.

“Anglicans believe that every human being has value and dignity,” said the Reverend Bill Mous, director of justice, community and global ministries for the diocese. “Our public policies and employment standards must reflect this belief in the value of every human being and ensure that all people have enough to flourish.”

For several years now, the diocese has reflected baptismal values by advocating for the Government to make bold investments in the human dignity of Ontarians.

In its submission, the diocese commends the proposal to increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2019. It cites a joint op-ed in the Hamilton Spectator by Diocesan Bishop Michael Bird and Bishop Douglas Crosby of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Hamilton which argues that with “a fair minimum wage in Ontario the very fabric of our society would be transformed for the better.”

More paid time for personal emergency leaves was also put forward as an investment in the well-being of employees. The diocese recommended that the proposed minimum of two paid days be increased to no less than five of a total entitlement of ten.

The proposed legislation, introduced by the Government in June, includes several substantial changes to Ontario’s Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act.