Labour Briefs

Manitoba increasing minimum wage in October / Deal ends 10-month Bonfield, Ont., strike

Manitoba increasing minimum wage in October

WINNIPEG Manitoba is increasing the minimum wage Oct. 1 to $10.70 per hour.

"We have increased the minimum wage every year since 2000. This most recent increase builds on our long-term plan to provide the lowest wage earners increased purchasing power so they can better provide for themselves and their families," said Labour and Immigration Minister Erna Braun.

"It also contributes to a vibrant labour market that will help Manitoba businesses attract and retain workers."

The increase of 25 cents per hour brings the current minimum wage to $10.70 from $10.45 and will make Manitoba the fourth highest among other Canadian jurisdictions.

To keep the province competitive for businesses, the Manitoba government has eliminated the small business tax.

In 1999, Manitoba had the highest small business tax rate in Canada, said Braun, adding that the province is the only one in the country to have completely eliminated its small business tax, removing 12,000 businesses from the tax rolls and saving each small business owner $55,000 every year.

Information on the minimum wage and other employment standards is available at

Deal ends 10-month Bonfield, Ont., strike

BONFIELD, Ont. — After 10 months and two days of labour board-mediated talks, city staffers in a small rural Ontario township will be returning to work.

In Bonfield, Ont. — a town of about 2,000 — the bitter strike that began last summer and saw Mayor Randall McLaren and the Canadian Union of
Pubic Employees (CUPE) butting heads has finally come to an end.

While details of the tentative agreement — which was ratified by the union on June 5 — are still forthcoming, of note is that the five employees fired over the course of the job action were reinstated.

Those employees were initially let go, according to McLaren, because they tried to prevent two local councillors from attending a meeting on how to get city services back up and running (such as recycling, bylaw enforcement and road maintenance), which were suspended during the strike.

During negotiations, CUPE raised concerns pertaining to provisions such as seniority, training, employment security, scheduling, vacation, sick leave and benefits.

"We worked really hard to reach a deal that both we and the township can live with.

"Ultimately, we were able to push all the major concessions off the table," said Diane Francouer, a spokesperson for the local union chapter, adding that, "from the beginning, this was a defensive strike."

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