Hot! Ontario minimum wage goes up June 1 to $11

TheStar.com – News/Queen’s Park – Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government will soon propose legislation linking future increases in the minimum wage to inflation.
Jan 30 2014.   By: Rob Ferguson Queen’s Park Bureau

Ontario’s minimum wage will rise 75 cents to $11 on June 1, Premier Kathleen Wynne confirmed Thursday.

Her minority Liberal government will soon propose legislation linking future increases in the minimum wage, which has not changed since 2010, to the inflation rate.

‎“Improving the minimum wage will help increase the standard of living for hard-working people . . . while ensuring that businesses have the predictability necessary to plan.”

Anti-poverty groups had pushed for a $14 minimum wage, which the government had argued was too much of a leap.

Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi said linking the wage to inflation is “taking the politics out.”

The increase of 75 cents “falls short of the goal of lifting workers out of poverty and locks workers 16 per cent below the poverty line,” said Yvonne Kelly of the Social Planning Council of York Region.

Earlier this week, a provincial advisory panel called for future minimum wage increases to be pegged to inflation.

The $11 figure is roughly the level the minimum wage would be now had it been linked to inflation since 2010, but the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said that is too high.

“It doesn’t look like that much but if you’re a small business that’s struggling . . . it will have an impact on the payroll,” said spokesman Plamen Petkov, whose organization represents small- and medium-sized companies.

A higher minimum wage means higher payments for businesses into the Canada Pension Plan, employment insurance and employer health tax in a “compounding impact,” Petkov added.

However, the Ontario Convenience Stores Association said it supports the increase in the minimum wage to $11 and linking it to inflation and said the new wage should not lead to higher prices for consumers.

“Small business adjusts quickly . . . I don’t see this being a major factor,” chief executive Dave Bryans told reporters.

“Eleven dollars is much better than $14,” he added. “It could have been punishing. Stores would have closed at $14.”

Bryans said his organization’s support for the new minimum wage has nothing to do with its push for the province to allow the sale of beer and wine in corner stores.

“That’s another discussion for another day.”

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