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April 2015 – Increase to minimum wage in Ontario and Quebec

Important notices

As announced in a News Release (Minimum Wage Increase) issued by the Ontario government on March 19, 2015, the General Minimum Wage in Ontario will be increasing from $11.00 per hour to $11.25 per hour effective October 1, 2015. The News Release provided businesses with more than six months advance notice of the minimum wage increase.

The Ontario government also introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act on February 25, 2014, which, if passed, would tie future annual minimum wage increases to Ontario's Consumer Price Index. Under the proposed legislation, increases to the general minimum wage and all special categories would be announced by April 1st of each year, and come into effect on October 1st.

Similarly on December 11, 2014, the Québec government held a Press Conference (Available in French only) to announce that effective May 1, 2015, the Québec minimum wage will be increased by $0.20 to $10.55 per hour.

The current business model for Temporary Help Services (THS) in the National Capital Region (NCR) allows suppliers to update their rates on a weekly basis, and as such, provides industry with a responsive means to incorporate minimum wage increases immediately within their pricing and rate structures. For existing call-ups against the THS Standing Offer for the NCR or contracts under the Supply Arrangement for the NCR, suppliers will be paid in accordance with the Basis of Payment fixed hourly rate. It will not be possible to change these fixed hourly rates. This is necessary to maintain the integrity of the THS procurement process. That is, making changes would be unfair to suppliers that planned for cost increases, and that missed out on THS business because of higher rates. It is understood that as a result of their own pricing strategies, some THS suppliers could be impacted by the minimum wage increases, but it is important that the integrity of the THS procurement process is maintained.

It is expected that suppliers will continue to honour the terms and conditions of all THS call-ups and contracts for the entire duration of each issued call-up or awarded contract. In the event that a THS supplier moves to end services prior to the end of the call-up or contract period without the consent of the client department, the supplier will be deemed to be in breach of the terms and conditions of the THS call-up or contract. Such a breach or default could result in vendor performance measures being taken against the supplier by the Public Works and Government Services Canada THS Authority.

As a reminder, any amendment to extend an existing THS call-up or contract must be at the THS rate specified in the original call-up, and any extension initiated by the client must be agreed to by the supplier. Consequently, in the case of a proposed amendment to a THS call-up or contract that would change the end date such that it would be beyond the effective date for a minimum wage increase, the supplier could (e.g. for financial reasons) decline the amendment, or suggest an alternative end date to the THS client.