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33 Comments

politics

Ontario’s Minimum Wage Is Going Up

Premier Wynne announces that the minimum wage will rise to $11 an hour, but some say that's not enough.

photo1

Premier Kathleen Wynne greets business owners ahead of today’s minimum wage announcement. Photo by Barnabe Geisweiller.

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced two changes to Ontario’s minimum wage this morning: an increase of $0.75 that will bring the minimum wage to $11.00 an hour, and a pledge to index the wage to the Consumer Price Index, which measures inflation in the Canadian economy.

Wynne made the announcement at the CSI Coffee Pub, a thriving small business located within the Centre For Social Innovation at 720 Bathurst Street. Wynne emphasized that her government, and the provincial advisory panel she appointed to study the minimum wage, had consulted with business owners about the economic impact of minimum wage increases.

“My concern for a number of years is that we have not had a consistent way of pegging the minimum wage,” Wynne told the gathering of media, supporters, and anti-poverty advocates. Her comments focused more on the inflation-indexing measures than the small wage increase, which many critics say is not enough given that Ontario’s minimum wage has been frozen for four years.

“We struggled with this,” said Wynne of striking a balance between business needs and those of working people. Wynne also took shots at her opposition in the provincial legislature, saying that Tim Hudak’s opposition Progressive Conservatives “seem not to care” about the issue, while the Ontario New Democratic Party under Andrea Horwath “has no position on this.”

Sonia Singh of the Workers’ Action Centre, which has been leading the campaign for a $14-an-hour minimum wage, expressed disappointment in the wake of the announcement. “Eleven dollars an hour is still 16 per cent below the poverty line,” said Singh as she stood with fellow campaigners. “It’s not enough.”

Nick Cluley, who co-owns the CSI Coffee Pub with his partner Erin, said he was not worried about any impact on his business. “This is the most expensive city in North America to live in. People need to be able to pay for their rent and food and live good lives—it’s part of being a Canadian.” However, some business groups, including the Ontario chapter of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, reacted to the announcement with warnings that the wage increase will force employers “to reduce hours and positions and to put a break on future hiring.”

The increase to $11 an hour will take effect on June 1; the governing Liberals will need to introduce new legislation to index future minimum wage increases to the rate of inflation. Wynne told reporters that her government will introduce such legislation separately from an anticipated budget bill this spring.

Comments

  • Shada

    Tying Ontario with Nunavut for the highest minimum wage in Canada!

  • vampchick21

    Hmmm…if someone earning minimum wage works 40 hours a week, that’s $440 a week, $880 in a two week pay period, $1760 a month before deductions. I would think that the majority of workers earning minimum wage work less than 40 hrs a week. Not sure that’s really a living wage.

    • OgtheDim

      To a certain extent, that depends upon what part of the province you are in. Rental prices vary a lot.

      • vampchick21

        This is true, and the last time I earned minimum, I was in high school.

        I do, however, remember when I first moved to the city in the early 90′s and got my first job, salaried at $21000 a year! I thought I was rich!

    • bobloblawbloblawblah

      Not in Toronto. Many of the people earning this wage work two jobs.

      • tyrannosaurus_rek

        And/or have roommates or immediate family working as well.

        • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

          Wouldn’t it be great if we had some kind of, oh, IDK, “long-form census,” or something like that, that told us who, precisely, was earning the minimum wage, and so helped us estimate how this would affect them?

          • tomwest

            You can’t base policy decisions on facts!

    • mytwocentsworth

      I’m sure it isn’t a living wage. Not unless you’re living with your parents.

    • Guest

      It may not be a “living wage” but at least it’s a wage. The problem with these sorts of initiatives is that the government, in theory at least, has to balance the trade offs of a living wage against people having a wage, period. Many small businesses operate on razor thin margins and if you start jacking the wage up, while they might not go out of business, they might need to eliminate a position or two. Beware the law of unintended consequences.

      • vampchick21

        So then what exactly do you suggest? Are you stating that the bottom line of a business, great or small, is more important than the ability to live slightly above the poverty line? A living wage is not nearly as important as a profit margin? I mean, I can understand a small business having a hard time being able to pay the number of staff they require the minimum wage, but WalMart and co sure as hell can, and the larger companies employ far more people at min than the hipster coffee joint on the corner.

  • rhonda

    I call for legislation where Government and Corporations alike have to employ 75% of their workforce from cities from which they reside.

    • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

      Why?

      How do you determine where a company “resides”?

      • nevilleross

        By the same way the government has always determined it.

  • OgtheDim

    Ur Huwai spell checker doesn’t work so well.

  • vampchick21

    Who are you mad at? You seem to be both angry at hard working people earning minimum wage who’s wages just went up on your dime? Or are you mad at those of us who actually live within the city who make more than minimum wage?

    Confused.

    • dsmithhfx

      RAGE YES CLARITY NO!

    • nevilleross

      She’s ‘angry’ because Faux Noise and Sun News Network told her to be. Ignore her.

  • vampchick21

    Lemme help you. Rage is more effective with correct grammar and spelling.

    *ahem*

    “If you raise minimum wage, jobs will not be created and inflation (what is your point regarding inflation? You stopped mid-thought on that). It is economics (do you mean simple economics? Please provide necessary back up to prove the point you are attempting to make). Get a brain morons.”

    As per my questions in brackets, you seem to have stopped mid-thought on inflation and not really clarified your stance on economic impact where raising the minimum wage is concerned.

    Think carefully, type slowly, finish your thoughts and use spell check. Try again. You may have valid talking point or you yourself may be the moron.

  • https://paul.kishimoto.name/ Paul Kishimoto

    I hope we can hold them to the pledge to pass legislation indexing it to inflation. That’s a huge deal.

    Imagine how much less sturm und drang we’d have to deal with in the municipal budgets if the property tax take were, at minimum, indexed to inflation.

  • nevilleross

    This ‘wage’ is still not enough; it needs to be $20.25, enough that people can save, be able to buy a ton of clothes, and buy things so that the economy can be stable (if people can’t afford to buy goods, then the economy suffers.)

    Somebody said it best about these companies and what they do: If a Business Won’t Pay a Living Wage, It Shouldn’t Exist

    • OgtheDim

      I stopped reading that article when the writer said

      “Look at it this way: when someone opens up a business, they’re entitled
      to all sorts of special tax breaks that most people can’t get. They can
      write off fancy meals;….”

      Yup, every single businessperson is eating at Chez I’m a Rich Bastard and then writing stuff off.

      As I keep harping on, walk a mile in people’s shoes.

      Its obvious that minimum wage is not enough. But its not obvious that the answer is to raise it more. Intuitively, most of us understand that Inflation alone eats up any rise in wages.

      Personally, I’d prefer that we tax consumption more, start income taxes at $35K and provide a consumption tax rebate for everybody making that amount or less. That way people would have more to spend but there would be a brake on consumption to reduce inflation.

      • LTJ

        So you stopped reading 15% of the way into the article, but you’re qualified to pass judgment on it?

        And you intuitively can understand what it is that “most of us” intuitively understand?

        LOL

  • Robert Boxer

    I wrote an article recently about how an increase in the minimum wage rate increases unemployment. You can read it here: http://wp.me/p3N9zD-4e

    • dsmithhfx

      Slavery = full employment?

    • LTJ

      How kind of you, as a representative of the Great Empire of the United States of America, to point out our ignorance. Clearly, Walmart’s interests matter more than those of poor working Canadians, and we need to understand that.

      You serve your masters well, and we must learn to do the same.

  • zozm

    Methinks you would need to raise the minimum wage a whole he11 of a lot more than 0.75 cents to see any substantive inflationary effect (although inflation doesn’t seem to be a real big issue given interest rates…………….). Assuming a 40 hour week 0.75 cents more an hour is an extra $1440 before tax. Think of all the extra candy bars, groceries and crystal meth you could buy with $1500 a year! Wow!

  • Theodore

    I have a question and I need someone to inform me about this issue. Since the government can control the minimum wage; why can’t they control the inflation and limit how business owners do their pricing?

  • vampchick21

    Okie dokie then. Chalk it up to old age. :)

  • tyrannosaurus_rek

    Get back under your bridge, troll.

  • vampchick21

    He spent a a portion of the early evening trying to post that same post over and over and over. Definition of insanity.