Building a Fairer, Better Ontario in 2018

GTA Weekly News
Kathleen Wynne Premier of Ontario

January 1 Changes Will Mean More Opportunity for Workers and Families

Beginning January 1, 2018, people across Ontario will start the new year in a province with a $14 an hour minimum wage and free prescription medications for everyone under the age of 25 through the new OHIP+. These historic actions are among the new legislative and regulatory changes that will support small businesses, protect consumers, fight climate change and give everyone in Ontario the chance to get ahead.

As part of the government’s work to build a fairer, better Ontario, the province is making sweeping changes to benefit workers, including:

  • Raising the minimum wage to $14 per hour as part of historic action to help workers who are struggling to get ahead in a changing economy
  • Expanding 10 days of personal emergency leave per calendar year to include all employees
  • Increasing paid vacation to three weeks after five years of service with the same employer.

To provide more security for families, Ontario is:

  • Providing free access to more than 4,400 prescription drugs for everyone under 25
  • Strengthening protections for renters and improving processes for renters and landlords at the Landlord and Tenant Board.

To strengthen small businesses so they can grow and create jobs, Ontario is:

  • Cutting the corporate income tax rate for small businesses by 22 per cent, from 4.5 per cent to 3.5 per cent
  • Lowering regulatory burden by requiring that for every $1 in new administrative costs to business, the government must remove $1.25 of old and unnecessary costs
  • Rewarding businesses with good compliance records by lowering their costs and reducing requirements.

To better protect consumers, Ontario is:

  • Banning the expiry of rewards points based only on the amount of time passed since they were earned
  • Extending deposit protections for buyers of newly built homes to include payments for upgrades and extras
  • Allowing municipalities to restrict where payday loan shops can open and the number that can operate in a given area.

To fight climate change, Ontario is:

  • Linking its carbon market with Québec and California’s to create North America’s largest carbon market and accelerate progress in reducing greenhouse gas pollution
  • Increasing access to electric vehicle charging stations by requiring them to be installed in all new commercial office buildings or workplaces with inside parking, and facilitating the installation of this equipment in houses and townhouses with driveways or garages.

Ontario’s plan is creating fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

Quick Facts

  • The government releases a list of the regulations and fees coming into effect twice per year, on January 1 and July 1.
  • More than 800,000 net new jobs have been created in Ontario since the recessionary low in June 2009 and unemployment is at its lowest rate in 17 years.
  • Over the 2014–16 period, Ontario has outpaced all G7 countries in real GDP growth.

Background Information


“As Premier, the most important part of my job is listening to the people of Ontario. When we make changes to legislation and regulations, it’s about responding to real concerns from people in every corner of our province. And it’s all part of our work to make Ontario a fairer and better place to live. We want to make sure that everyone has the opportunity to get ahead in this changing economy.”

Kathleen Wynne

Premier of Ontario

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