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Ontario mandating minimum wage for gig economy workers

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February 28, 2022
By Talent Canada

(Kaspars Grinvalds/Adobe Stock)

Ontario is setting a minimum wage for gig economy workers for companies such as Uber, Door Dash and Instacart.

“We want all workers to have every opportunity to earn a good living and provide for their families,” said Premier Doug Ford. “It doesn’t matter if you work for a big company, a small business or for a rideshare app. Our government won’t leave any worker behind.”

Data shows as many as one in five Canadians work in the gig economy, a number that is predicted to increase, the province said. However, these workers often face uncertain working conditions and lack necessary protections, including finding it difficult to predict paycheques or resolve complaints.

New rights and protections

The government’s proposals would enshrine the following rights and protections for digital platform workers:

  • Earning at least the general minimum wage for time worked;
  • The right to keep their tips along with regular pay periods;
  • The right to information and clarity around algorithms including how pay is calculated; and how and why a worker might be penalized in the allocation of work and written notice if they are being removed from the platform and why;
  • The right to resolve their work-related disputes in Ontario; and
  • Protection from reprisal should they seek to assert their rights.

“No one working in Ontario should ever make less than minimum wage for an hour’s work,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour Training and Skills Development. “No one working in Ontario should be dismissed without notice, explanation, or recourse. No one should have to travel out of the country to resolve a workplace dispute or sign a contract they do not understand. These core rights are a foundation in our mission to help all workers earn bigger paychecks to take care of their families, not an endpoint.”

This announcement follows the province’s commitment to design a health care benefits plan tied to millions of workers who currently don’t have access to them, including digital platform workers, it said in a press release.

Quick facts

Source: Ontario Government

  • Many digital platforms use algorithms to determine when and how quickly workers are given their next delivery or customer. However, most digital platforms do not share this with their workers making it unclear why other workers may pick up more work than them.
  • Some digital platforms do not provide their workers with clear explanations on how their pay is calculated. This makes it difficult to predict their earning.
  • Digital platforms can currently remove workers from their platforms without providing an explanation why. If workers appeal the decision, they may not be able to speak directly with a person.
  • These proposed measures were informed by the recommendations made by the experts of the Ontario Workforce Recovery Advisory Committee, based on their consultations with workers, employers, and unions.

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