A $15-an-hour minimum wage, new rules to help unions organize, across-the-board increases in vacation and emergency-leave time and scheduling rules to prevent employers from suddenly cancelling shifts at the last minute are all getting strong support from churches and faith-based intervenors at cross-Ontario hearings into labour law reform.

In Bill 148, the Ontario government has taken two years of study into the changing landscape of work and decided on major revisions to the Employment Standards Act and the Labour Relations Act in favour of a better deal for low-wage, part-time and contract employees.

“The current standards, they really do undermine the value and dignity of workers,” said Sr. Sue Wilson, who runs the Office of Systemic Justice for the Canadian Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Last week she submitted a brief to the committee holding public hearings on the bill, endorsing a gradual raise in the minimum wage to $15 per hour by January of 2019. After 12 days and 10 cities, the hearings wrapped up July 21.