COVID-19 has brought heightened cleaning duties and more demands from stay-at-home building occupants for many residential superintendents. However, that hasn’t necessarily come with a commensurate boost in earnings for a workforce that remains among the minority of Ontario employees exempt from a mandated minimum wage.
Opposition critics in the Ontario legislative assembly want to overturn that rare pay status through amendments to the provincial Employment Standards Act. Gilles Bisson, the NDP member of provincial parliament for Timmins, has introduced a private member’s bill that would exclude gratis accommodations from the calculation of residential superintendents’ compensation, and establish their entitlement to the minimum wage in addition to room and board.
“Superintendents, janitors and caretakers who work in residential buildings are working harder than ever during the pandemic to help keep people safe, but when they add up their salary and room and board, it works out to less than minimum wage,” Bisson asserts. “They don’t feel that’s fair, and neither does the NDP.”
Bill 210, the Fairness for Residential Superintendents, Janitors and Caretakers Act, was carried at first reading on Oct. 5. Subsequent stages of debate have not yet been scheduled.