Doug Ford’s government raising minimum wage to $16.55 in October

Posted on March 31, 2023 in Delivery System

Source: — Authors: – Politics/Provincial
March 31, 2023.   By Robert Benzie, Queen’s Park Bureau Chief

The province’s minimum wage will jump to $16.55 an hour from $15.50 on Oct. 1, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced Friday.

Ontario’s lowest paid workers are getting a raise.

The province’s minimum wage will jump to $16.55 an hour from $15.50 on Oct. 1, Labour Minister Monte McNaughton announced Friday.

“This latest increase is a fair and balanced approach that means more money in their pockets so they can support their families and continuing building a stronger Ontario for all of us,” said McNaughton.

The $1.05 hourly hike means someone earning minimum wage and working full-time would see an annual raise of about $2,200.

It also vaults Ontario to the highest minimum wage in Canada — British Columbia currently sits at $15.65 an hour compared to $15 in Alberta and $14.25 in Quebec.

McNaughton said the change should help about 942,400 workers in Ontario — most of whom are women.

The 6.8 per cent rise is because minimum wage increases are now tied to the rate of inflation and must be disclosed by the end of the fiscal year.

It also comes as Ontario faces a massive labour shortage — there are around 340,000 unfilled jobs in the province.

Since winning power in 2018, Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives have changed their tune on the minimum wage.

Five years ago, the Tories cancelled an increase to $15 promised by former Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne, freezing the wage at $14 to appease business owners.

In 2017, Wynne had boosted the $11.40-an-hour minimum wage to $14 as of Jan. 1, 2018.

Under her plan it was to rise to $15 on Jan. 1, 2019 and then be tied to inflation.

The COVID-19 pandemic, the rising cost of living and an electoral push to appeal to unionized workers led to Ford embracing Wynne’s policy.

In November 2021, flanked by the then leaders of the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union, the premier announced the wage would jump to $15 an hour as of Jan. 1, 2022 and then be tied to inflation.

That was part of the Tories’ successful “Big Blue Collar Machine” push that helped them win traditional New Democratic ridings in Toronto, Hamilton, Windsor, and Timmins in last June’s election.

Eight private-sector unions endorsed Ford in that vote and McNaughton has emerged as the most labour-friendly Conservative minister since at least the 1970s when former premier Bill Davis’s Big Blue Machine was in power.

In other changes taking effect in October, students under 18 working 28 hours a week or less will get a raise to $15.60 an hour from $14.60. People paid by employers to do full-time jobs from their own homes — an employee category known as “homeworkers” — will jump to $18.20 from $17.05.

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