Ontario seeks feedback on portable benefits plan

'How or where you work should not determine whether you have benefits like health plans'

Ontario seeks feedback on portable benefits plan

Ontario is seeking public feedback as it moves forward with plans to expand benefits such as health, dental, prescription drug and vision care to more workers who need coverage.

That plan would make Ontario the first province in Canada to cover millions of precarious workers in sectors such as retail, the gig economy, contract workers and hospitality, according to the government.

“How or where you work should not determine whether you have access to benefits like health and dental plans,” says Monte McNaughton, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “Our government is giving workers the protection and confidence they need to provide for their families and build stronger communities for us all.”

Read more: Ontario looks at creating ‘portable benefits’ program

While most workers in Ontario with full-time, permanent jobs have medical insurance and dental coverage, fewer than a quarter of people who work part-time or in precarious jobs have similar benefits.

This means these workers and their families “often have to make difficult choices between their health and other necessities like food and shelter,” says the government.

Read more: Feds provide more details on Canada Dental Benefit

Public feedback is open until Dec. 16 and will help determine the Portable Benefits Advisory Panel's recommendations, expected in the summer of 2023.

While benefits are good for workers, providing benefits to workers is also beneficial to employers, according to Paychex, payroll & HR solutions.

“As employers struggle to hire and retain employees, a strong and strategic benefits package can play a key role in your business's success and help set you apart from the competition.”

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