The province increased its adult minimum wage by $1.05 to $16.55 an hour. The increase was announced on March 31. Minimum wage increases are currently tied to the annual inflation rate. Students under 18 years old will see a $1 increase to $15.60.
Minister of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development David Piccini said that the increase will mean up to $2,200 more in workers pockets.
“Our government is continuing to deliver steady and predictable annual increases, helping families offset the rising cost of living,” he said.
The increase in the minimum wage brings Ontario to one of the highest in Canada and comes after the passage of the Working for Workers Act (2023) which increase health and safety fines against abuse of temporary and foreign workers, includes work-from-home employees under labour protections against mass layoffs, and increases fines against employers for Occupational Health and Safety Act violations.
Despite the minimum wage increase, poverty advocates say the increase does not go far enough.
The Ontario Living Wage Network calculates that in Eastern Ontario, workers need to earn at least $19.05 per hour in order to make ends meet. In Ottawa, that increases to $19.60 per hour and tops out in Toronto at $23.15 an hour.
The next increase to the provincial minimum wage is scheduled to be announced April 1, 2024.
This article was originally written for the Morrisburg Leader.