Consultations on a modern fair wages policy

From: Employment and Social Development Canada

Current status: Closed

The consultations ended in March 2019.

We thank everyone who participated in the survey.

Consultation details

Between November 2018 and March 2019, the Government of Canada consulted with members of the public, unions and labour organizations, suppliers and supplier organizations, experts and advocates to listen to their ideas on whether a modern fair wages policy is needed and what it should look like. The consultations included a public online survey, written submissions, roundtables with representatives from unions and labour organizations (read the background paper provided to participants), discussions with representatives from suppliers and supplier organizations.

What the consultations were about

The Government of Canada spends close to $25 billion every year to procure goods and services through contracts with a large number of suppliers. In order to leverage these procurement contracts to help improve the lives of Canadians, the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour was asked by the Prime minister to work with the Minister of Public Services and Procurement and the President of the Treasury Board to implement a modern fair wages policy. The consultations sought feedback to shape and inform the possible development of a new policy.

Fair wages policies are designed to prevent suppliers from competing for government contracts on the basis of substandard wages. They typically require contractors to pay their employees above a certain threshold, defined as prevailing wages for the occupation in a given region.

There are a number of programs that place different requirements on contractors who do business with the federal government, such as the Federal Contractors Program, which requires large firms to seek to achieve and maintain a representative workforce, and the Procurement Strategy for Aboriginal Business, which aims to assist Aboriginal business development. There are also a number of provinces, territories and cities with fair wages policies in place.

The federal government also had a fair wages policy under the Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act, which covered contractors and subcontractors in the construction, remodeling, repair or demolition industries. This legislation was repealed in 2014.

What we heard report now available

The What We Heard - Consultations on a Modern Fair Wages Policy report summarizes feedback from in-person and online consultations with nearly 300 stakeholders, including members of the public, unions and labour organizations, suppliers and supplier organizations, experts, and advocates. For details, read the full report.

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