DISCUSSIONS: 6 – (June 2) Ontario to raise minimum wage to $15/hr by 2019

The $11 or $12/hr wage earner is likely jumping for joy with Kathleen Wynne’s announcement of an increase to minimum wage to $15 by 2019.

Employees, thumbs up; employers, thumbs down.

The provincial Liberal government plans to raise the hourly minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 within the next 18 months. The phased-in process would see minimum wage jump to $14 on Jan. 1, six months before the next provincial election, and then $15 in 2019.

Wynne, ever the politician, announced:

  • workers will get equal pay for doing work equal to full-time staff
  • minimum vacation entitlement will be increased. [Instead of getting two weeks of vacation, workers will be able to get three weeks of paid vacation a year after five years with a company.]

Other changes announced benefit workers:

  • fairer scheduling rules where employers would have to pay three hours of wages if they cancel a shift with fewer than 48 hours notice.
  • Personal emergency leave would be expanded to include all provincial employees whereby all workers would get 10 days per year, two of which are paid.

Wynne pounded the political drum with an appropriate beat:
Change in the workplace isn’t just on the horizon, it’s here,” Wynne said. “People are working longer, jobs are less secure, benefits are harder to come by and protections are fewer and fewer. In a time of change like this, when the very nature of work is being transformed, we need to make certain that our workers are treated fairly.”

Support for this minimum wage increase is divided.

The NDP, led by Andrea Horwath was silent about minimum wage back in 2014. Of course, at that time she was wooing small businesses and for them, a wage increase meant revenue reduction. Now she offers whispered support for a minimum wage increase. Times have changed. Horwath has kept up and now supports the $15 minimum wage.

Patrick Brown, a politician in a tuxedo, waivers again, never wanting to be seen wearing sneakers to a formal party. He criticizes and pivots without taking a clear stand on his own. Wynne’s minimum wage proposal is “going too far too fast.” He warns it will cost the province jobs, and that Ontario has yet to properly assess the impact. Now there’s a stand for you.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFIB)’s, Julie Kwiecinski, a director with the business organization, said she is “shocked and appalled that the government is broadsiding small business owners with a 32 percent increase in the minimum wage within only one-and-a-half years.”

Wynne noted that only 10 per cent of workers earn the minimum wage while 30 percent earn less than $15 an hour. Accordingly, many more workers will benefit from a higher minimum because it raises the floor for all wage earners.

The bottom line is an increase in the minimum wage likely ensures more employees will vote Liberal. Another political move by Kathleen Wynne.


  • Alberta – $12.20 an hour, rising $15 an hour on Oct. 1, 2018.
  • British Columbia – $10.85. expected to rise to at least $11.25 this year.
  • Manitoba – $11. The government plans to raise it every year along with the rate of inflation.
  • New Brunswick – $11. Adjusted annually relative to the consumer price index.
  • Newfoundland & Labrador – $10.75 rising to $11 on Oct. 1, 2017.
  • Northwest Territories – $12.50
  • Nova Scotia – $10.85. Adjusted annually April 1 based on the consumer price index.
  • Nunavut – $13. Adjusted annually April 1.
  • Ontario – $11.40.
  • Prince Edward Island – $11.25.
  • Quebec – $10.75, rising to $11.25 per hour May 1.
  • Saskatchewan – $10.72. Adjusted annually Oct. 1 relative to the consumer price index and average hourly wage.
  • Yukon – $11.32. Adjusted annually April 1 based on the consumer price index.

What do you think?


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