McGuinty Government Moves To Improve Fairness Under Government Contracts



    Ontario's Fair Wage Policy To Undergo Independent Review

    QUEEN'S PARK, April 12 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government will review
Ontario's Fair Wage Policy to ensure that employees of contractors hired by
the government are paid fairly, Minister of Labour Steve Peters said today.
    "Our government believes that all Ontarians must be able to share in our
province's economic growth," said Peters. "The Fair Wage Policy is intended to
level the playing field for businesses bidding for government contracts by
ensuring fair compensation levels for employees."
    Professor Morley Gunderson, from the University of Toronto, is being
retained to conduct a review of this policy, which is expected to be completed
by the end of 2007. The policy sets minimum pay requirements that private
sector employers must meet in order to bid on certain Ontario government
contracts.
    Ontario's fair wage policy sets minimum wage and employment conditions
based on the type of work being done and the part of the province in which the
work will be done. It currently applies to the following types of services:

    
    -  Construction projects in the industrial, commercial, and institutional
       (ICI) sector valued at $100,000 or more
    -  Road building projects where the contract value is $160,000 or more
    -  Sewer and watermain projects, regardless of the contract value
    -  Contracts for any janitorial and security services, regardless of
       contract value.
    

    "Our fair wage policy must ensure a fair playing field for companies
bidding for government contracts and a fair income for employees performing
these services," said Peters. "This review will help ensure that this is the
case."

    Disponible en français
    
                             www.labour.gov.on.ca


    Backgrounder
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                       ONTARIO FAIR WAGE POLICY REVIEW
    

    The McGuinty government is retaining the services of University of
Toronto Professor Morley Gunderson to conduct a full independent review of
Ontario's current Fair Wage Policy. Prof. Gunderson is with the University's
Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources, as well as the Department
of Economics, and holds the CIBC Chair in Youth Employment. The review is
expected to be completed by the end of 2007 with a report-back to the
government.

    What is the Fair Wage Policy?

    Ontario's Fair Wage Policy (FWP) is established in 1995 by an
Order-in-Council, and has not been reviewed or updated since that time. Its
purpose is to ensure that employees of private sector employers who contract
with the government to perform construction or provide building cleaning or
security services are accorded fair wages and certain labour conditions.
    The FWP attempts to create a level playing field for bidders on
government contracts by minimizing conflicts between organized and unorganized
labour in competitions for work. Under the policy, contractors must agree as a
term of the contract to adhere to the applicable fair wage schedules.
    A "fair wage" is considered by the Ministry of Labour to be the current,
generally accepted wage paid to a competent worker in the region where the
work is performed.

    To which contracts does this policy apply?

    The FWP applies to contracts made directly by the government's ministries
and, subject to some qualifications, the Ontario Realty Corporation, the
Ontario Clean Water Agency, the Ontario Housing Corporation and the Ontario
Transportation Capital Corporation with private sector employers in the
following instances:

    
    -  Construction projects in the industrial, commercial and institutional
       (ICI) sector valued at $100,000 or over
    -  Road building projects where the contract value is $160,000 or over
    -  Sewer and watermain projects, regardless of value
    -  Janitorial and security contracts, regardless of value.
    

    FWP contracts require contractors to ensure that any subcontractors they
retain fulfill the obligations under the contracts awarded by ministries or
the previously mentioned agencies.
    Each of the three industries covered by the policy has its own schedule
of fair wage rates and set of labour conditions.

    How is this policy enforced?

    Under FWP contracts, contractors must post the appropriate fair wage
schedule and labour conditions in a conspicuous place on the work site.
    Contractors and subcontractors are required to maintain accurate records
showing the names, trades and addresses of all employees, the hours worked by
them, and the wages paid to them. Such records must be made available to staff
of the contracting ministry for inspection upon request.
    Contractors are responsible for their subcontractors and any FWP claims
made against subcontractors.
    Ministries and Crown corporations to which the FWP applies must maintain
a registry of their contracts that are covered by the policy. Any person may
obtain any of the information from the registry by making a written request.
Compliance with the FWP is achieved through a holdback of a portion of the
financial value of the contract.

    Disponible en français
    
                             www.labour.gov.on.ca
    




For further information:

For further information: Members of the media: Belinda Sutton, (416)
326-7405, Ministry of Labour; Susan McConnell, (416) 326-7710, Minister's
Office

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