ONTARIO, Canada – Minimum wage earners in the province of Ontario will see a small bump in their next pay check.
The Ontario government is enacting its annual minimum wage increase of $0.20 on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. As of that date, the minimum wage in this province will be $11.60 an hour.
The minimum wage has increased 11 times since 2004 from when the Liberal government took power and the rate was frozen from 1996 until 2003, when it was $6.85.
This is the fourth consecutive year, that the minimum wage has increased, but is not to be confused with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s plan to bring the minimum wage up to $15 an hour.
The government’s Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs will increase the minimum wage to $14 an hour on Jan. 1, 2018 and it will increase again to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2019.
“Fairness and decency must continue to be the defining values of our workplaces,” said Minister of Labour Kevin Flynn in a statement. “No one working full time should be struggling to put food on the table or buy clothing for their children. Increasing the minimum wage will create more fairness, opportunity and security for workers, while building a more stable and sustainable economy that also includes fair workplaces for everyone.”
Once the minimum wage reaches $15 an hour it will be increased annually at the rate of inflation.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is critical of the legislation to increase teh minimum wage to $15 an hour, known as Bill 148.
“It does not cover the $23 billion cost challenge for business in the first two years – a substantial amount that poses great risk to our economy and cannot be resolved through offsets alone,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More must be done. The Ontario Government must resolve the economic challenges presented in Bill 148 through a combination of slowing down the implementation period, amending the legislation, and offsets. Business and Government must work together to avoid unintended consequences and protect our most vulnerable.”