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Ontario’s minimum wage increase impacts newcomers

Ontario is increasing the minimum wage from $10.25 to $11 per hour as of June 1, 2014.

The news received a mixed reaction. Which was natural, as it impacts people – particularly newcomers – in two ways. 

Many newcomers are small business owners and an increase in minimum wage hits the bottom line as operating costs go up. 

But for the many newcomers who take up minimum wage jobs, this was cause for celebration as it meant just that little bit more in their pockets.

This new rate reflects the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the last minimum wage increase in 2010 and is part of the provincial government’s commitment to fairness. 

The government will also introduce legislation that would tie future minimum wage increases to the CPI. This will ensure the minimum wage keeps up with the cost of living, and that increases are predictable for businesses and families. Under the proposed legislation, increases would be announced by April 1 and come into effect on Oct. 1.

The proposed legislation would act on the recommendations of Ontario’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, which included business, labour, youth and anti-poverty representatives.

The 75 cent increase reflects the annual change in Ontario’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) since the last increase on March 31, 2010.

The province’s Minimum Wage Advisory Panel recommends that the province perform a full review of its minimum wage rates and revision process every five years.

The panel held 10 public consultations across the province and received more than 400 submissions from organizations, businesses, and individual Ontarians.

Increasing the minimum wage supports Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. In the first three years of the strategy, approximately 47,000 children and their families were lifted out of poverty.

The current minimum wage is $10.25 per hour. It has increased nearly 50 per cent since 2003.

“Increasing the minimum wage will help improve the standard of living for hardworking people across the province, while ensuring that businesses have the predictability necessary to plan for the future,” said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. 

“Our government is focused on helping hardworking Ontarians by ensuring fairness for people living on minimum wage and predictability for business, said Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Labour. “By establishing a transparent, fair and responsible method of setting minimum wage in the future, we are taking the politics out of minimum wage. This will provide fairness for Ontario workers and their families and predictability and transparency for our businesses to remain competitive and succeed.”

MPP Dipika Damerla welcomed the minimum wage increase. “With this increase, Ontario once again has the highest provincial minimum wage in the country,” she said. “This increase will put more money into the pockets of hardworking minimum wage earners. This will help bring everyday basic costs, like trips to the grocery store, down. This new legislation also strikes a fair balance by ensuring predictability in future minimum wage increases.” 

Posted: Mar 5, 2014

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