Today, Doug Ford announced that the minimum wage in Ontario will increase to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2022, from the current wage of $14.35 per hour. The wage is then expected to continue to rise by the rate of inflation.
The announcement comes after Ford scrapped a $15 minimum wage three years ago. Labour advocates say that the news is welcome but long overdue, saying that this could have been done years ago.
Small business owners however, remain concerned that the hike in the minimum wage might hurt small businesses. Dan Kelly, President and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, calls the move “pandering to unions.”
In addition to the wage hike, the special minimum wage rate for liquor servers would be eliminated and they would be entitled to the general minimum wage. Students under 18, homeworkers and hunting, fishing and wilderness guides will still have a minimum wage but would also see an increase in their special minimum wage rates.
“Ontario’s workers have been the unsung heroes of this pandemic, as they’ve stocked shelves, kept our supply chain moving and helped so many of us enjoy a meal among family and friends at a local restaurant,” said Premier Doug Ford. “When we asked labour leaders what their priorities were, increasing the minimum wage was at the top of the list. As the cost of living continues to go up, our government is proud to be working for workers, putting more money into their pockets by increasing the minimum wage.”
Special minimum wage rates are also proposed to increase:
- Students under the age of 18 who work 28 hours a week or less when school is in session, or work during a school break or summer holidays would see an increase from $13.50 to $14.10 an hour.
- Homeworkers (those who do paid work out of their own homes for employers) would see an increase from $15.80 an hour to $16.50 an hour.
- Hunting and fishing guides currently have a minimum rate of $71.75 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $143.55 for working five or more hours in a day. Their new proposed rate would be $75.00 for working less than five consecutive hours in a day, and $150.05 for working five or more hours in a day.