Panel recommends Ontario tie minimum wage hikes to annual inflation rate
TORONTO — Ontario’s lowest paid workers will get a raise this year when the $10.25 an hour minimum wage is hiked for the first time in four years.
Sources say a special panel set up to look at ways of adjusting the minimum wage will recommend it be tied to the inflation rate, and that businesses get four months warning of any increases.
Business groups warn a hike in the minimum wage will only hurt the very people it’s supposed to help by driving up costs, resulting in fewer jobs.
However, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce last year called for future changes in the minimum wage to be tied to the rate of inflation.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says businesses and individuals should be pleased at having a more predictable system in place.
A study last fall showed the number of minimum wage workers more than doubled since the Liberals were elected in 2003 to nine per cent of Ontario’s workforce in 2011.
Young people used to make up the bulk of minimum wage workers, but the data shows that by 2011, nearly 40 per cent were 25 or older.
Various social groups, unions and health care professionals have been pressuring governments to raise the minimum wage to $14 an hour.
The $10.25 an hour rate in Ontario and British Columbia is about middle of the pack for provinces and territories, which range from $9.95 in Alberta to $11 in Nunavut.