Announcement expected as early as Tuesday
Premier Doug Ford will vow to raise Ontario’s minimum wage to $15, effective Jan. 1, in an announcement expected Tuesday, the Toronto Sun has learned.
He is expected to make the announcement in Milton at the offices of Unifor, Local 414, which represents food and vending employees, security guards, maintenance workers, and other members.
Ford was grilled on the issue of the minimum wage — now $14.35 an hour — at Queen’s Park by NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.
“The cost of everything is going up and yet wages here in Ontario remain flat,” Horwath stated. “And, of course, the leading culprit for keeping wages low in this province is in fact the premier.”
Ford responded: “We are the only party to create an environment for people to have a job.”
On Oct. 1, the minimum wage increased by 10 cents an hour.
The Ford government’s Making Ontario Open for Business Act triggered that bump.
The hourly minimum wage for students under 18, and for workers who serve alcohol and receive tips, are lower than the general rate: $13.50 and $12.55, respectively.
The long-standing issue has been a source of a political battle that has intensified with the lingering effects of the pandemic.
Along with the NDP, the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) has advocated for an increase in the minimum wage.
“Low wages are bad for workers as individuals. An individual working full-year, full-time on the minimum wage can still fall short of the poverty line,” the OFL has argued. “For years, we have heard that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs, raise prices and cause businesses to flee Ontario. This is fearmongering that is out of line with the latest economic research.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has argued that increasing the wage to $15 would hurt younger workers “potentially resulting in 68,100-155,900 youth job losses in the province,” it said in a 2017 report.