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Minimum wage hike has more benefits than tax credit

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TORONTO—Ontario's financial watchdog says a planned minimum wage increase scrapped by the Tory government would have benefited workers more than a tax credit brought in to replace it.

Financial Accountability Officer Peter Weltman said in a report today that the tax credit will benefit only 38 percent of minimum wage workers since many already pay no provincial tax.

In September, the Progressive Conservatives said the province's minimum wage would remain at $14 an hour rather than rising to $15 as planned by the previous Liberal government.

The government's Low-income Individuals and Families Tax credit came into effect in January and the FAO said approximately a million Ontarians will receive an average tax credit of $409 in 2019.

The watchdog says had the province continued with the planned hike to the minimum wage, 1.3 million Ontarians would have received an average after tax benefit of $810.

Finance Minister Vic Fedeli said the government took a balanced approach by halting the wage hike to give businesses time to adjust to the increase while introducing the tax credit for low-income earners.

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