Rights & Money

Ontario Is the Second Province to Okay a $15/hour Minimum Wage

The province’s minimum wage went to $14 per hour and response has been mixed

By Katrina Caruso

Last May, Premier Kathleen Wynne proposed a 32% raise in the minimum wage across the province of Ontario. Minimum wage jumped from $11.40 per hour to $14 this month and will be $15 as of January 2019, with future adjustments indexed with inflation. The increase is among the provisions of the new Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act.
Ontario is the second province in Canada, after Alberta, to call for a minimum wage raise to $15. Alberta’s decision was announced in Fall 2016 and the new minimum wage comes into effect as of October 2018.

These changes will significantly increase the number of workers earning minimum wage: currently about 500,000 people in Ontario (7% of the employed population), the number will grow to 1.6 million people by 2019 (22% of the employed population). At $15 per hour, adults and full-time workers would become the majority of those paid minimum wage, rather than teenagers, young adults, and part-time workers, who currently make up the majority.

The response to the wage increase has been mixed, with critics arguing that the increase in minimum wage will drastically affect small businesses (and one Tim Hortons franchise, citing the increase as a direct cause) has already cut workers’ benefits), youth employment, and workers with less training and fewer skills.

Photo: iStock/Rawpixel.