By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - The Ontario government's decision to raise the minimum wage to $11 from $10.25 doesn't add up to dollars and sense, according to MPP Jim McDonell.
MPP Jim McDonell.
Premier Kathleen Wynne announced Thursday that a 75-cent-an-hour increase will come into effect on June 1.
Stormont-Dundas South Glengarry MPP Jim McDonell views the hike as a non-effective method of poverty reduction that will cause massive repercussions to the business sector.
"Minimum wage is not going to get people out of poverty. It's not the answer," said McDonell. "We need good jobs. All we're going to do is put stress on business and restrict the number of jobs we do have. It's not going to help the people it's intended for."
He said a majority of minimum-wage workers are students, retired, and people working more than one job - and not people who are in desparate need of the money.
"We have to prioritize it and really direct our funding and energy toward the people on low income through tax programs and not address it as a whole with minimum wage," said McDonell.
Alex de Wit, executive director of the Social Development Council (SDC) of Cornwall and Area, is supporting the Ontario's government 's decision.
SDC and the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) teamed up at a poverty reduction forum in Finch on Jan. 21.
For De Wit, the combined findings of health professionals and activists was evidence that families surviving on a minimum wage income have shorter lifespans, lower education levels and a higher use of emergency health care.
"If your employees can't afford to buy what you're selling, how can they afford to shop at places like your own? So by increasing the wage you're increasing the buyer power that the community has as a whole, which can improve the local economy," said de Wit.
The Liberal government said the new rate reflects the rise in inflation.