The Ontario government, by way of Premier Ford, announced they plan on raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour come the new year. This change will include servers and other occupations who make regular tips that are traditionally paid in a separate category.
“Liquor servers have previously received below the general minimum wage, based on the belief customer tipping can make up the difference,” the government said in a news release Tuesday. “However, many of these workers have increasingly seen their tips pooled and redistributed among many staff, making it harder for them to make ends meet.”
Jerry Dias, the Present of Unifor, stood with Doug as he announced,
“For many Ontarians, wages haven’t kept up with the increasing cost of living making it harder than ever to make ends meet,” Ford said. “The least the government can do is ensure we’re making life more affordable for them by putting real dollars in their pocket.”
Quick facts from the government:
- Due to the pandemic, there have recently been higher than usual increases in the cost of living.
- The October 2021 annual minimum wage increase was based on the 2020 annual Consumer Price Index increase, which does not reflect the recent increases.
- A full-time worker making the general minimum wage could see an annual earnings increase of $1,350 in 2022 under the proposed legislation.
- From January-August 2021, there were 763,500 workers at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 in Ontario
- Most minimum wage earners are women and nearly 73 percent of working 15 to 19-year-olds are at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 per hour.
- The industries employing the most minimum wage earners are accommodation and food services, and retail trade.
- Nearly 37 per cent of workers at or below the proposed general minimum wage of $15 per hour are in retail trade and almost 24 per cent are in accommodation and food services.
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business said the announcement comes at a horrible time.
“Many businesses are still grappling with the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, including cashflow constraints and the increased cost of doing business,” the chamber’s president and CEO Rocco Rossi said in a statement. “This is no time to add to their costs.”
Dias added that a living wage can vary widely from $16.20 an hour in London, Ontario,to $22 an hour in Toronto which is much higher than the minimum wage coming into effect in January.
“So do I think $15 is wonderful? The answer is no,” Jerry says. “But do I think it’s a good start? The answer is yes.”